One of the most prolific and influential African-American artists of the late 1970s, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), also known as The Radiant Child changed the New York art scene at a game-changing and rapid pace. Before the tender age of 25, Basquiat managed to establish himself as a historically important neo-expressionist. Although Basquiat acquired fame and fortune at an age where most artists are just participating in their first group show, he was an individual with a troubled past who was, ironically, ostracized and celebrated. With that kind of social limbo, Basquiat found it hard to cope, amongst fighting other demons, and died from a chronic cocaine overdose at the age of 27. In Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child one is taken on a journey through New York during the late sixties through the late eighties where graffiti was rampant, poor artists were the norm and dreams and stakes were incredibly large. Director Tamra Davis does a superb job of delving into the artist’s psyche with rare, found footage, interviews with his friends and (many) lovers and video of the artist in his most sacred space: the studio. The Radiant Child explores racism, conceptual and minimalistic art, the back-biting-climb-the-ladder world of New York galleries and what it means to be a man, to be an artist and a dreamer. Art world heavy hitters like Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger and trusted friend Fab 5 Freddy discuss the artist's undeniable genius, his insatiable love of fame, his relationship with Andy Warhol and his child-like curiosity about life. Dissecting the allure of both Basquiat ‘the artist’ and Basquiat ‘the man’, Tamra Davis’ Radiant Child documentary is a must-see for anyone enraptured by the young and legendary phenom.
August 24, 2013