Item description for Basquiat (Taschen Art Album) by Leonhard Emmerling...
Overview This work offers a thorough introduction to the brief, yet eventful life of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) whose works of grafitti art crossed over into the gallery world.
Publishers Description Starting as an enigmatic street graffiti artist in New York in the late 1970s, Jean-Michel Basquiat went on to become the shooting star of the art world before succumbing to a drug overdose in 1988. This is his story.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Basquiat (Taschen Art Album)?
Complete Intro and overview - not an easy painter- May 14, 2007
My Profile- No qualifications whatsoever as art critic
This refers to the spanish Taschen edition
Back in the 80's I was into art mainly by helping my late father-in-law (may God have him in his glory)who was a well known merchant here in Caracas.
I began knowing of JMB thorugh the works that were auditioned in the Sothebys and Chrity's galleries... his prices were rising like bubbles of champagne... his art is not easy, and sometimes its hard to tell the mundane from the sublime.. though I always remeber a painting called "Everything must go" that somehow revealed what he was trying to accomplish..
Again its not an easy travel but this book is a good and objective guide
Concise and friendly, an ideal introduction Jun 27, 2006
In spite of many who claim that Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was but a flash in the pan, a faddish personality whose work won't survive, today there are many different presentations of his art published. This TASCHEN overview by Leonhard Emmerling, however, might be the best introduction for those who have never come across this great figure. Basquiat's art speaks to this reviewer who encountered the painter only years after the time in which he lived and worked, and Emmerling's book explains just what's so special about him.
I come to like this TASCHEN series. None of its titles meant to provide exhaustive coverage of a painter's oeuvre. Instead, they give a brief biography with examples of outstanding work from each period. And this one on Basquiat is no different. In the prose portion of the work, Emmerling tracks Basquiat from his humble beginnings as a grafitti artist through his discovery and brief fame, and ultimately to his death from a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988. Especially attention is paid to his relationship with Andy Warhol, and the rather misguided partnerships he had with Warhol and Francesco Clemente. A coda discusses views of Basquiat after his death, with savage words against Schnabel's film. Throughout, Emmerling portrays Basquiat as a conflicted figure, half in the art scene and half sick of the commercialism, and unsure of whether to embrace his African heritage or assimilate to upper-class white values.
The selected paintings are presented here in glorious colour. I was very pleased to see that Emmerling features Basquiat's "Pegasus", a massive and intensely-detailed pencil work which I believe is his masterpiece. His "Angel" gets a full-page spread (as well as the cover), and his fascinating "Baptism" an entire page. Many of Basquiat's sly jabs against commercialism, for example by painting a dollar sign on the work, are featured.
Getting the Respect He Deserves Mar 22, 2005
The myth of Jean Michel Basquiat has taken on the status of an "art cautionary tale". Born to a middle class family in Brooklyn's Park Slope, Basquiat first made a name for himself as a graffiti artist and punk musician in ate 70s Soho before reinventing himself as a painter. His work rode the painting boom of the early 80s where, along with Julian Schnabel and Europeans George Baselitz and Francesco Clemente he was associated with the Neo-Expressionist movement in art. Basquiat's studied primitive canvases, which mixed text, symbol, primitive figuration and abstract techniques became the rage in the burgeoning "art market" of the 80s, looked upon as much for "investment" purposes as for the intrinsic value of the work. Basquiat's meteoric rise to fame and romantic origins as a street artist sold his paintings as much as the actual work on canvas. And then when he fell, he fell hard. He was dropped by the very people who had made his career only a few years earlier and died of a drug overdose in 1987, at the age of 27.
I bought this book after attending the fantastic Basquiat retrospective exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I had not been a fan of the artist before seeing this show. Somehow, wandering through the almost 200 pieces brought a cumulative power to the work that I had never noticed when viewed singly. Basquiat's arcane use of phrases, text and esoteric symbols fascinated me and I wanted to know more. This book was just the ticket.
The book is a fast read. The highlights of Basquiat's career are present; his time on the streets, his early struggles as an artist, his lionization by Rene Ricard and Diego Cortez, his contentious relationships with his agents and promoters, the strange relationship with Warhol, and his final dissolution. But what comes through is the seriousness in Basquiat. Rather than just a drug-addled idiot savant, a characterization that is immortalized in Julian Schabel's deeply flawed bio-pic, we get the impression of Basquiat as a deeply intellectual painter who hides profound social insights under an almost child-like surface.
Emmerling takes Basquiat very seriously. He traces the main themes of the painter's work; heroism, death, and racial injustice; and decodes the hidden meanings in many of the paintings. His draws attention to Basquiat's excellence as a draughtsman, something that was often ignored during his lifetime, and to his debt to older painters. He demonstrates the influence of Cy Twombley on Basquiat but also draws deeper connections between the painter and older abstract expressionists like Clyfford Still. The artist who emerges from this book is something much more comlex and interesting than the Basquiat the myth. He is rather an accomplished painter with something profound to say about life and society who died, not in decline, but at the height of his powers.
The book is lavishly illustrated with many of Basquiat's most important paintings. All are in color and most are big enough to help one appreciate the details in the work. The only paintings that don't come across well in this book are the massive text paintings such as the late Pegasus, which is dominated by a plethora of tiny, precisely laid out text items. In the gallery this work is one of the most hermetic and paradoxically profound pieces, but much of the power is lost on the small page.
Still, with this small caveat, which could be raised against any artist catalogue, this book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to gain a greater appreciation for this important and yet much misunderstood painter.
Farewell Basquiat By Salah Mahdi Abood Dec 13, 2004
Farewell Basquiat! May the Lord grant you the ultimate paradise up in heaven above, Amen. Your Friend, Salah. Throughout the entire history of art, a major fact can be concluded which is : ART FOREVER REMAINS SUBJECTIVE NOT OBGECTIVE, AND DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT APPEALS TO YOU. Here lies the difficulty of addressing a fare evaluation and an accurate critique and review. And when it comes to Post-Modernist artist, such as Jean-Michel, the difficulty is greater because that there is a clear gap between realist and modernist aa well as an abstact expressionist art. Modern art does not apply a traditional technique or standard art theories, such as proportion, and measurement. Nevertheless, modern artist insted employs a free formula of randam imagination to capture his thoughts and express his artistic vocabularies and themes. Although I am not writing review about Basquiat's style, yet I feel the need to explore the significance of his contributions to the world of art and to our lives. His noble memory will remain ever alive in our hearts and minds. His too soon departure from our lives will remain a landmrk of an inspiration to all of us as well as to new generations, yet to be born. The book is a mastarpiece by any standard, I have read many books about Jean-michel Basquiat, larger in size than this, yet this one, the Taschen's publication is the best, for its unique produc and visual attraction. Above all, artistically documents the work and the live of one of the most controversial young artist in our time. Jean-Michel Basquiat! wherever you are in heaven, out hearts with you. Salah, email@example.com Boston, MASS. 12/12/2004 IN MEMORY OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT(1960-1988) Absent Friends, Salah remember Basquiat
BOOM!! An Excellente' Intro. to a "Misunderstood Genius" Feb 18, 2004
Great writing, Pocket Size edition, but very informative. Breaks Jean Michele down and makes him real. Does more than "gawk at and patronize" the so-called "negro savant" of the early 80's art world.
As a fan of "the artist" and the prolific amount of "work" he was able to create in his brief time on Planet Earth, this was a much needed testament to his legacy.
Unlike "Basquait"(IMO) the all-too self-serving Schnabel film, Jean Michelle is not "presented as the drug-riddled token-ghetto golden child." His complex relationship with his family, ethnicity, and the 80's art world who both exploited and extolled him are examined.
Jean Michele artistic influences are detailed, his original perspective and cleverness is allowed to shine, and the author has obviously spent time and research and it is much appreciated.
Originally, I was under the impression that Basquait was somewhat of a fraud (many years ago) and it's only been in the last 5-7 years that I am beginning to truly appreciate his legacy and genius.
Emmerling plants Basquait firmly in the tradition of African, Latino, and American artists, where he firmly belongs.
"Liberals" beware, This is not the book to purchase, if you're looking for the "overly hyped" sordid details of his life. He may not have been a Saint, but who is???? Time will tell if he's deserving of the "Black Picasso" moniker.