JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT – Downtown 81

23.02.2007 - 23.03.2007

Jean – Michel Basquiat

DOWNTOWN 81

After the exhibition presented in Milan in 1999 the Galerie Davide Di Maggio presents Jean–Michel Basquiat, “Paintings – Drawings” and “Downtown 81” in Berlin. In his short lifetime Jean Michel Basquiat (Brooklyn, N.Y. 1960 – N.Y. 1988) showed only once in Berlin, at the Galerie Michael Haas, a few months before his death.

This is therefore a rare opportunity to observe the works of one of the most controversial figures of the Eighties, interpreter of suburban metropolitan graffiti art, of the street subculture and the multiethnic spirit diffused in that period, an authentic legend that has later become an icon. Basquiat embodies the figure of the genius, isolated from mediocrity, who lives following only his own instinct and no rules, willing to sacrifice anything to make his dreams come true. He is a postmodern hero who has made a deep impression on the contemporary collective imagery. Almost twenty years after his death, the youths of today continue to admire him as a timeless idol, almost as if he were a damned rock star, a bright comet not unlike Jim Morrison or Ian Curtis.

Through some very important works on canvas and a selection of drawings on paper, the Galerie Davide Di Maggio recreates the atmosphere of his nervous and palpitating painting, the vehemence, eclecticism and ferocious energy, the Afro-American roots, the special relationship with writing, the passion for music, cartoons, fashion, women.

During the exhibition opening a movie shot precisely in those years in the bustling precincts of New York will be shown it is a matter of Downtown ‘81, shot by the movie maker Edo Bertoglio from Ticino in 1981 and directed by Maripol. Artist, musician and poet, Jean-Michel Basquiat here appears as himself. It is a matter of a work that has gone through various misfortunes and that has only recently appeared, first at movie festivals and then in distribution and home video. The movie, that tells the story of a typical day in the life of the artist, at that time only nineteen years old, is a fascinating glimpse of the cultural scene of New York in the Eighties, the portrait of a fertile and vivacious city.