SAMO: an art history lesson - THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES

Saturday, December 1, 2012

SAMO: an art history lesson


Thought this song was sadly fitting......



Jean-Michel Basquiat 
(1960-1988)

Okay so I just saw this documentary on weird home video type shit that was happening n the late 70s and early 80s and they mentioned Basquiat and I had totally forgotten about how awesome he was/is.  In 1977, Basquiat, along with friend Al Diaz begins spray painting cryptic aphorisms on subway trains and around lower Manhattan and signing them with the name SAMO©  (Same Old Shit). He is considered one of the first  real taggers in NYC which helped him become famous later on. SAMO was literally tagged everywhere in the city (or so I hear.. haha)



He started by selling little postcards and drawings to his friends and as his art progressed it began showing a lot of resembelences to his heritage (he grew up in Haiti just like Wyclef!!) but also his black heritage having themes about slavery, Egypt , the Nile river, Nubian masks and the Atlantic Slave Trade. He basically wanted to express how unfair it was tha society was controlled primarily by white people.  He wanted to  portray how complacent Black ppl have become despite the corrupt regines of white police and general institutions. Although its hard to get that from his paintings, this is another reason why he was a big fucking deal. My friend Carol isn't really into his style and I'm not sure I am either but his shit s still super important and revolutionary. Something tells me Jay-Z would be super into this dude.


Some see him as kind a sell out to his original creativity after meeting and getting major praise from the likes of And Warhol and Keith Harring who regarded him as a genius. He was also in a Blondie music video, started dating Madonna and hung w/ David Bowie a bit and he started having shows for the first time. His art was purchased by tons of richies and suddenly he wasn't couch hopping anymore. 

Around 1984, many of Basquiat's friends had become quite concerned about his excessive drug (heroin) use, often finding him unkempt and in a state of paranoia.  Basquiat's paranoia was also fueled by the very real threat of people stealing work from his apartment and of art dealers taking unfinished work from his studio since he had recently come into some major money. He usually hung out at the Mudd Club which was the place to be seen  and heard at the time (Think the Limelight of the dirty early 80s grunge scene ), CBGBs and Max;s Kansas City. He then started painting expensive armani suits and was sometimes seen wearing them.




When Andy died in 1987 Basquiat got super depressed and isolated a lot w. a massive drug stash and stopped working as much. He did travel to his ranch in Maui which he had purchased a few years back but didn't really communicate w. anyone except regarding selling his art. But by 1988, Basquiat had shows in both Paris, Japan, and New York and California. The NYC show which was held in SOHO (not sure whch gallery)  was a super, super success and made him even more popular- and by this time he was really raking in the dough. 





  Basquiat attempted to kick his heroin addiction by leaving the temptations of New York but on August 12 , Basquiat died as the result of a heroin overdose. He was 27... like everyone else awesome. SAD FUCKING STORY. and sorry abt the pic.. it was too fitting not to include but yea, its hella depressing. 

oh, also.. if anyone wants to leave a comment about anything at all it would make me super happy and excited.. that is all. :)

xoxoxo. e. 


OH AND i'd be a horrible teacher if I didn't mention like the other 50 million street artists in the city who revolutionalized bombing too. so if you feel like being a good pupil don't forget about this: READ ME

[Valid RSS] Tweets by @ElizabethASpenc