Basquiat Retrospective, Paris, FR. 30 Nov 2010.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
So on 30 Nov 2010 I was blessed to be able to make a side trip to Paris during tour to catch the Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. So I thought I'd share my blessings with all of you and show you pics from the place.
The show was laid out in chronological order of his career, from the first SAMO pieces until his death.
The first thing that struck me was how HUGE the pieces were in real-life. I have seen these paintings in books but that doesn't prepare you for the real pieces. Basquiat wasn't fucking around. Even the works on paper were bigger than I thought they'd be.
Love how layered and tactile the technique was. You could really see how Basquiat built each piece from the ground up, pasting Xeroxes, then painting over them, then adding clear gel, then more paint, then some writing, on and on. At first glance you think he just scribbled some stuff, but then you see all the layers underneath.
People put the "primitive" tag on Basquiat because he was black (marketing), but I think he was the opposite, a hyper-modernist. Even the writing on his pieces weren't just graf, they were placed type. Totally on point. They always boil the black man down to "intuitive" or "natural" talent. Or some kind of mentally ill schtick like Wesley Willis.
Peeps always try to bite his "outsider" style thinking it's simple, but they can never pull it off.
Loved the Parisian crowd, too. It was interesting to watch them as they took in the paintings, pointing out every detail. There was a tour group with a guide who was explaining the work, but unfortunately, I don't speak French. Would have loved to discuss the work and get other people's take, but I was alone.
And was nice to see many beautiful black people there besides me. LOL. But they were French, it goes without saying. The only way you could get black people to a museum in the States is if it was velvet paintings of Tupac, Biggie and ODB.
They also had a couple of the Warhol/Basquiat
paintings on view. I'd seen one before, at the Warhol Museum back in '08. "6.99" was my fave. Again, they were huge.
"Dos Cabezas" (the Warhol/Basquiat portrait) wasn't in the show, though. Would have liked to have seen that.
It was fun sneaking pics. I would wait until somebody got a guard's attention and snap a quick shot. I'd also stand in a group of people, using them to run interference as I shot. This blond chick tried to take pics with her phone, but was caught my a guard. She tried to charm him, but no go. While he was with her, I took two or three pics. Ha!
There was also this lady in a wheelchair who needed help getting in the elevator. God bless her, I had the run of the place while the guard was helping her.
For all that, I couldn't get pics of my fave Basquiat pieces, though. "Dextrose" is one of my all-time favorites, and "Two Heads on Gold." (You'll have to look them up yourself).
So I just flew in for the day and was back out to Berlin that evening. Funny thing is, I was right back in France for a gig that weekend.
Enjoy the pics and Happy Holidays.
-AO :: 1:46 PM ::