FEATURED IMAGE: Wilson wearing Kota Gushiken SS18
Every generation gets its Picasso. On the streets outside this pantheon of institutions, the Barbican lies Banksy – sure – many kids have grown up with his imagery. For the pre-grime gen, Basquiat was our Leonardo Da Vinci.
In this immaculately presented exhibition, which is all set to be total roadblock (free for under 14s, fivers for up to 25s – if you have some kinda Barbican card, £12 for the unwaged, and £16 for those that can afford it) – you’ll get the tour of his themes and complete career of creativity which occurred in a lifespan of 7 or 8 years.
If you know nothing of Basquiat, the 1996 film is a good place to start.
From making postcards in art studios, to hanging out with photographer, Maripol, and Blondie, and Madonna, et al, to the rise of culture through New York’s downtown Mudd Club, it’s all in the show.
Walking through the show – which starts with him DJing, there’s a sincere attempt to help the audience feel the music of WHITE HEAT jazz, black beauty – yes – as he was dubbed as he rose to fame, ‘the radiant child’.
The themes of rubbing out history, words, changing contexts, trying to create a narrative in an maligned state of post-slave hell, crawling through the streets of heroin, where race riots were bombed by Nixon bastards, using drugs to disempower uprisings. It’s a wild scrapbook of canvases stretched Afro-primitive style.
AND IT IS SO FRESH.
The canvases look like they were finished last night. The chalk written messages. The printed colour reproductions of drawings that are pasted to canvases beneath thick Rauchenberg paint. As founder of the Mudd Club, Diego Cortez noted, it had only been Cy Twombly and Robert Rauchenberg who were around before…
So the ideas – the attempt to find logic – spread across the rooms, swathed with the counter-culture, in the full, fast intense success that he achieved before dying at the age of 27. Heroin.
PLEASE WATCH THESE FILMS made at the press preview – they feature BASQUIAT’S NOTEBOOKS – all shown at the exhibition: running til Jan 28th TICKETS HERE.
Antonio Roberts & Jacob Sal-La Rose will both be at the Barbican on the 7th October, for the TOO YOUNG FOR WHAT? wraparound…