OAF Talks

Lost in Translation: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Taught Artist

New York 2014

Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982, Photographer: James Van Der Zee
Copyright: Donna Mussenden Van Der Zee

Information

Moderator: 
Paul Laster

Panelists:
Brooke Davis Anderson,

Prospect New Orleans director and former American Folk Art Museum curator
Eric Fretz,
Writer and author of the 2010 book Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography
Lenore Schorr,
Contemporary art collector and early supporter of Basquiat
Xaviera Simmons,
Artist

Reevaluating the life and career of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the panel will look at Basquiat’s early interest in art, his breakout work as the graffiti writer SAMO, his poetic use of found materials, his obsessive use of anatomy, the repetition of words and symbols in his work, his embrace of heroic figures, and the influence of Outsider artists on his work. A wunderkind that learned and synthesized his art from the masters and the street, Basquiat fascinated the art world during his decade reign and has risen to greater glories since his death. Responding to Basquiat's recent multimillion-dollar auction prices, the panel will also consider how the embrace and deification of the art market impacts self-taught artists and their place in art history.

Featuring panelists Brooke Davis Anderson, Prospect New Orleans director and former American Folk Art Museum curator; Eric Fretz, writer and author of the 2010 book Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography; Lenore Schorr, contemporary art collector and early supporter of Basquiat; Xaviera Simmons, artist whose solo shows include the Museum of Modern Art, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Moderated by Paul Laster, contributing writer at Time Out New York and Modern Painters and former PS1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) adjunct curator of photography.

Paul Laster is a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific, FLATT Magazine, and ArtBahrain; a frequent contributor to Time Out New York, Modern Painters, and Art in America; a former adjunct curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMAPS1); and a lecturer. While at Tony Shafrazi in the mid-1990s, he assisted on the Jean-Michel Basquiat catalogue raisonné, published by Galerie Enrico Navarra, and later lectured on Julian Schnabel's film Basquiat when the Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective exhibition was at the Brooklyn Museum.

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