Monday, August 22, 2005

Basquiat at MOCA

This weekend I checked out the Jean-Michel Basquiat show at LA's Museum of Contemporary Art . I have to say, that before I went to art school I was a big fan of Basquiat's. I really connected with his fuck the system ethos and liked his non-traditional way of making paintings. Plus, the movie was pretty good too. But I have to say, that after really getting to know this artist's work, and the period the work came out of (NY 80's art scene), I was hardly excited for the show. I figured it would be another bombastic exhibition meant to bring in the tourists, and the show does that, but it also plays right into the Basquiat notion of self promotion. The museum has put together a lovely line of Basquiat tote bags, dvd's, and t-shirts ($32 = Art fans are suckers?). The show is expansive, but honestly I was more statisfied with the MOCA's permanent collection which the Basquiat show empties out to. I do believe that Jean-Michel was talented, or at least smart enough to enjoy getting stoned and making weird stuff. But as a whole, his paintings, and especially his drawings begin to work against him, they begin to show his lack of development and his copious reliance on the work of Cy Twombly and Sigmar Polke. I never thought I'd say this, but the best thing to ever happen to Basquiat was when he started having other people make his canvases, and perhaps his work too?

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