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In The 1980s Art Punk Movement, The Only Thing The Market Liked Better

In the 1980’s art punk movement, the only thing the market liked better than a hot young artist was a dead hot young artist, and it got one in Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose working life of about nine years was truncated by a heroin overdose at the age of twenty-seven. His career, both actual and posthumous, appealed to a cluster of toxic vulgarities. The artist wasinstinctual, someone outside mainstream culture and therefore not to be rated in its terms: a wild pet for the recently cultivated collector. Jean Michell Basquiat was indeed a great artist, however he was not meant to be a celebrity. Basquiat, gave the art world what they most desired, he filled a fetish about the freshness of youth, blooming among the discos of the East Side scene. Basquiat also fueled the audience’s goggling appetite for self-destructive talent. This essay intends to prove that Basquiat did not deserve his celebrity status, through analysis of his drug addictions, his reckless lifestyle and his primitive art.

Jean-Michel Basquiat lead an incredibly wild life. After his escape from suburbia into the feverish and frantic world of Soho, New York he primarily associated with the most renowned artists and celebrities. Jean-Michel’s life was filled with the gods of monsters of the neo-primitive art movement, it all seemed so glamourous, he would model for Armani clothes, create famous art works with Andy Warhol, dance at studio 54 and sleep with Keith Harring and Maddona. But this is where the illusion ends. Basquiat’s life was constant turmoil. He was perpetually in a drug induced haze, being addicted to more drugs than person could possibly invision. At a time he had a live in errand boy who would do nothing more than hook-up Basquiat with his drug-de jour. His habit eventually, and inevitably lead to his untimely death at the age of 28. While alive Jean-Michel was incredibly licentious, a bisexual artist/model/musician with a taste for every form of carnal expression can (as you might imagine) get into a lot of trouble. He would unabashedly have up to ten relationships in the air at once and still feel the need to visit prostitutes and mistresses. In life Basquiat contracted numerous venereal diseases and was the very epitome of sexually irresponsibility.

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Basquiat’s art mirrored his life. His paintings held bold strokes of beautiful colours over shoddy canvass painted with fury and distemper. While some may argue that the paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat are deceptively simple many say they are sloppy works covered in irreverent text and portraits that any grade one student could imitate and improve. Basquiat would spin out art without paying any attention or care to the final product. However it is a difficult thing to prove anti-art, because of the fact that art is so personal and individually interpreted.

Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art


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