Fear not! For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy! On February 7th, 2013, the largest demonstration of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work in 8 years was presented at Gagosian Gallery’s 24th Street location. Glassy-eyed Basquiat fans of all sorts and styles waited on lines for hours, compulsively grinning and referring to the “power,” “street-cred,” “aggression,” and “musicality” of the 60 paintings inside with the fervor of religious zealots speaking in tongues staring agape at an image of the Christ-child himself. However, walking around the gallery before this organized mob descended, these old “Basquiat buzzwords” lost all meaning. This time, Gagosian’s painting placement, brilliant and precise, highlighted pieces that were by no means “aggressive” or “street.” Rather it was the delicate, passive paintings from Basquiat’s final days that lit up the evening. These final works, disjointed by his heroin addiction and face-to-face with death, are the ones that actually defy the labels which Basquiat believed his audience branded onto him without his consent. So, feel free to leave all labels at the gallery door and simply watch a young artist once erroneously described as, “primal” and “aggressive,” morph into a contemplative 2013 neo-contemporary painter before your very eyes. Hark! A child is born in the post-Obama art world, and he shall be named, Basquiat!
FEBRUARY 7 – APRIL 6, 2013
555 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
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