Basquiat. Pronounced ‘Basquia’ with a silent ‘t’. Had to ask the Barbican gallery operator for confirmation on that one.
I always tend to keep an eye out for the latest gallery openings and exhibits in London. Couldn’t wait for this one – got tickets for the second day it was open. Keen.
Needless to say, the excitement was worth it. Spent nearly three hours in the gallery reading pretty much every excerpt. Well done Barbican, it’s incredibly well curated.
Don’t want to give too much away, but here are a few of the things that I found absolutely fascinating about Basquiat and his career, which like most of the greats, ended too soon.
- Getting noticed: Basquiat first achieved fame in the art world by working with his friend Al Diaz and spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO© in 1976. He would tag things and put his art up in obscure places until people started recognising the ‘SAMO©’ name and trying to find out who was behind all of this. He kept his anonymity and played with the papers writing letters back and forth asSAMO©. As someone who works in marketing and is always looking for creative ways to get your brand/ message out there – this is certainly a successful way to bring about curiosity and intrigue.
- The Scene: The whole gallery truly captured the scene of NYC at the time. There were polaroids and videos of The Mudd Club where Basquiat used to go, hanging with Madonna and the likes before they were discovered. Genuinely wish I could be transported back to that time. Imagine the creativity and inspiration of all of those people in one place. DREAM.
- Andy Warhol: Basquiat’s friendship with Andy Warhol was a key part of the exhibit and of course part of Basquiat’s career. I had no idea the two artists were so collaborative and connected, living together and working from the same studio. Unlikely but incredible influence on each other.
- Dedication, Talent and Risk: There was a final interview with Basquiat at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This piece really struck me. The risk he took at such a young age to follow his dream and passion is something not many people have the balls to do. It’s those people – the movers and the shakers – that push beyond the ordinary and mundane and create a world of their own. The ones that have the perfect mix of talent and dedication and passion which makes them adverse to risk. This is something that exists within all of us but it’s about allowing yourself to find that and nurture it when you do. If you don’t have a chance to go to the exhibit you can watch it here.
Another lovely read on Basquiat, where his friends and lovers share memories of their times with him. Good Saturday afternoon read.
It’s on until 28th January 2018 at the Barbican. GO GO GO.