Archive for December, 2008

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

December 31, 2008

T S  Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He was educated at Harvard and did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He settled in England, where he was for a time a schoolmaster and a bank clerk, and eventually literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber, of which he later became a director. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication (1922-1939), edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church.

Eliot has been one of the most daring innovators of twentieth-century poetry. Never compromising either with the public or indeed with language itself, he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry. Despite this difficulty his influence on modern poetic diction has been immense. Eliot’s poetry from Prufrock (1917) to the Four Quartets (1943) reflects the development of a Christian writer: the early work, especially The Waste Land (1922), is essentially negative, the expression of that horror from which the search for a higher world arises. In Ash Wednesday (1930) and the Four Quartets this higher world becomes more visible; nonetheless Eliot has always taken care not to become a «religious poet». and often belittled the power of poetry as a religious force. However, his dramas Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Family Reunion (1939) are more openly Christian apologies. In his essays, especially the later ones, Eliot advocates a traditionalism in religion, society, and literature that seems at odds with his pioneer activity as a poet. But although the Eliot of Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) is an older man than the poet of The Waste Land, it should not be forgotten that for Eliot tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction. Eliot’s plays Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and TheElderStatesman(1959) were published in one volume in 1962; Collected Poems 1909-62 appeared in 1963.

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

This autobiography/biography was first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1948/eliot-bio.html

Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance.

December 30, 2008

Henri Matisse

Matisse was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis in northern France on December 31, 1869. The son of a middle-class family, he studied and began to practice law. In 1890, however, while recovering slowly from an attack of appendicitis, he became intrigued by the practice of painting. In 1892, having given up his law career, he went to Paris to study art formally. He joined Gustave Moreau’s studio at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he met Camoin, Manguin, Marquet and Jean Puy

His first teachers were academically trained and relatively conservative; Matisse’s own early style was a conventional form of naturalism, and he made many copies after the old masters. He also studied more contemporary art, especially that of the impressionists, and he began to experiment, earning a reputation as a rebellious member of his studio classes.

Matisse’s true artistic liberation, in terms of the use of color to render forms and organize spatial planes, came about first through the influence of the French painters Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne and the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, whose work he studied closely beginning about 1899. Then, in 1903 and 1904, Matisse encountered the pointillist painting of Henri Edmond Cross and Paul Signac. Cross and Signac were experimenting with juxtaposing small strokes (often dots or “points”) of pure pigment to create the strongest visual vibration of intense color. Matisse adopted their technique and modified it repeatedly, using broader strokes.

By 1905 he had produced some of the boldest color images ever created, including a striking picture of his wife, Green Stripe (Madame Matisse) (1905, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen). The title refers to a broad stroke of brilliant green that defines Madame Matisse’s brow and nose. In the same year Matisse exhibited this and similar paintings along with works by his artist companions, including Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck. Together, the group was dubbed les fauves (literally, “the wild beasts”) because of the extremes of emotionalism in which they seemed to have indulged, their use of vivid colors, and their distortion of shapes.

While he was regarded as a leader of radicalism in the arts, Matisse was beginning to gain the approval of a number of influential critics and collectors, including the American expatriate writer Gertrude Stein and her family. Among the many important commissions he received was that of a Russian collector who requested mural panels illustrating dance and music (both completed in 1911; now in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg).

Such broadly conceived themes ideally suited Matisse; they allowed him freedom of invention and play of form and expression. His images of dancers, and of human figures in general, convey expressive form first and the particular details of anatomy only secondarily. Matisse extended this principle into other fields; his bronze sculptures, like his drawings and works in several graphic media, reveal the same expressive contours seen in his paintings.

Although intellectually sophisticated, Matisse always emphasized the importance of instinct and intuition in the production of a work of art. He argued that an artist did not have complete control over color and form; instead, colors, shapes, and lines would come to dictate to the sensitive artist how they might be employed in relation to one another. He often emphasized his joy in abandoning himself to the play of the forces of color and design, and he explained the rhythmic, but distorted, forms of many of his figures in terms of the working out of a total pictorial harmony.

From the 1920s until his death, Matisse spent much time in the south of France, particularly Nice, painting local scenes with a thin, fluid application of bright color. In his old age, he was commissioned to design the decoration of the small Chapel of Saint-Marie du Rosaire at Vence (near Cannes), which he completed between 1947 and 1951. Often bedridden during his last years, he occupied himself with decoupage, creating works of brilliantly colored paper cutouts arranged casually, but with an unfailing eye for design, on a canvas surface.

Matisse died in Nice on November 3, 1954. Unlike many artists, he was internationally popular during his lifetime, enjoying the favor of collectors, art critics, and the younger generation of artists.

http://www.renoirinc.com/biography/artists/matisse.htm

A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.

December 29, 2008

Sir William Dobell

William Dobell was born in 1899 in Cooks Hill, Newcastle NSW, into a working class family of six children. His father was a builder. In 1916 he was apprenticed to Newcastle architect, Wallace L. Porter. In 1924 Dobell moved to Sydney to work as a draftsman for an architectural metalwork and terracotta manufacturer. In 1925 he enrolled in evening classes at Julian Ashton’s School where he was influenced by George Lambert. In 1929 Dobell was awarded the Society of Artists’ Travelling Scholarship and travelled to England to study at the Slade School under Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks and William Orpen.

In 1930 Dobell won first prize for figure painting at Slade and also travelled to Poland. In 1931 Dobell travelled again to Belgium and Paris. In 1931 he returned to Australia, from England, bringing with him satirical character studies and small London genre paintings. In 1939 he began as a part-time teacher at East Sydney Technical College. In 1941 Dobell was drafted into the Civil Construction Corps of the Allied Works Council as a camouflage painters, he subsequently became the unofficial war artist for the Allied Works Council. In 1944 Dobell had his first Solo exhibition including public collection loans at the inauguration of the David Jones’ Art Gallery, Sydney. Dobell’s 1943 work of Joshua Smith “Portrait of an artist” which was awarded the Archibald was contested in 1944 by two unsuccessful artists who brought a lawsuit against Dobell and the Gallery’s Board of Trustees in the Supreme Court. The award was upheld but the ordeal left Dobell an emotional wreck and he retreated in 1945 to his sister’s home at Wangi Wangi on Lake Macquarie, where he began to paint landscapes. Dobell did not like fame and it nearly destroyed him. In 1948 Dobell entered “Margaret Olley” in the Archibald and won, he also won the Wynne prize for “Storm approaching Wangi”.

In 1949 he visited New Guinea as a guest of Sir Edward Hallstrom with writers Frank Clame and Colin Simpson. The trip inspired a new body of tiny, brilliantly coloured landscapes. In 1950 he revisited New Guinea. Upon returning to Wangi he continued to paint scenes of New Guinea, as well as portraits. In 1959 Dobell won the Archibald for “Dr E. G. MacMahon”.

Between 1960 and 1963 Time magazine commissioned Dobell to paint four portraits for their covers, one per year of: Rt. Hon. R. G. Menzies; South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem (he spent time in Hong Kong to finish the work); Frederick G. Donner, the Chairman of General Motors; and Malaysian PM Tunka Abdul Rakman.

In 1964 Dobell exhibited in a major retrospective at AGNSW and the first monograph of his work was written by James Gleeson. Dobell was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1965 and a Knighthood in 1966. He died in 1970 at Wangi Wangi. On January 19th, 1971 The Sir William Dobell Art Foundation was formed and was made the sole beneficiary of the artists estate.

Dobell’s style is unique in being able to adapt to suit the character of his subject. This was best described by James Gleeson; “One of the astonishing things about Dobell’s portraiture is his ability to adjust his style to the nature of the personality he is portraying …. If the character of his sitter is broad and generous, he paints broadly and generously. If the character is contained and inward looking, he uses brushstrokes that convey this fact. In his later portraits one has only to look at a few square inches of a painted sleeve to know what sort of person is wearing it.” This chameleon-like ability has made his work vary from Impressionism to Expressionism. Dobell was capable of displaying crisp objectiveness one moment and fleshy satire which reflected a subjective, somewhat darker view of the world the next. His works include portraits, figures and landscapes. He was and remains Australia’s most talented and successful portrait artist.

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Metro/5252/dobell.htm

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.

December 28, 2008

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer was born in 1902 in Leoncin, a mainly Jewish village near Warsaw in Congress Poland, then part of the Russian Empire. A few years later, the family moved to Radzymin, which is often and erroneously given as his birthplace. The exact date of his birth is uncertain, but most probably it was November 21, 1902, a date that Singer gave both to his official biographer, Paul Kresh, and his secretary Dvorah Telushkin. It is also consistent with the historical events he and his brother refer to in their childhood-memoirs. Another presumed birth date, July 14, 1904, the author may have used in his early youth to make himself younger to avoid the draft.

His father was a Hasidic rabbi and his mother, Bathsheba, was the daughter of the rabbi of Biłgoraj. Singer later used her name in his pen name “Bashevis” (Bathsheba’s). His brother Israel Joshua Singer and their elder sister, Esther Kreitman, were also writers. She was the first in the family to write stories.

The family moved to the court of the Rabbi of Radzymin in 1907, where his father became head of the Yeshiva. After the Yeshiva building burned down in 1908, the family moved to Krochmalna-Street in the Yiddish-speaking poor Jewish quarter of Warsaw, where Singer grew up. There his father acted as a rabbi — i.e., judge, arbitrator, religious authority and spiritual leader.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Bashevis_Singer

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

December 27, 2008

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer (January 14, 1875-September 4, 1965) was born into an Alsatian family which for generations had been devoted to religion, music, and education. His father and maternal grandfather were ministers; both of his grandfathers were talented organists; many of his relatives were persons of scholarly attainments.

Schweitzer entered into his intensive theological studies in 1893 at the University of Strasbourg where he obtained a doctorate in philosophy in 1899, with a dissertation on the religious philosophy of Kant, and received his licentiate in theology in 1900. He began preaching at St. Nicholas Church in Strasbourg in 1899; he served in various high ranking administrative posts from 1901 to 1912 in the Theological College of St.Thomas, the college he had attended at the University of Strasbourg. In 1906 he published The Quest of the Historical Jesus, a book on which much of his fame as a theological scholar rests.

Meanwhile he continued with a distinguished musical career initiated at an early age with piano and organ lessons. Only nine when he first performed in his father’s church, he was, from his young manhood to his middle eighties, recognized as a concert organist, internationally known. From his professional engagements he earned funds for his education, particularly his later medical schooling, and for his African hospital. Musicologist as well as performer, Schweitzer wrote a biography of Bach in 1905 in French, published a book on organ building and playing in 1906, and rewrote the Bach book in German in 1908.

Having decided to go to Africa as a medical missionary rather than as a pastor, Schweitzer in 1905 began the study of medicine at the University of Strasbourg. In 1913, having obtained his M.D. degree, he founded his hospital at Lambaréné in French Equatorial Africa, but in 1917 he and his wife were sent to a French internment camp as prisoners of war. Released in 1918, Schweitzer spent the next six years in Europe, preaching in his old church, giving lectures and concerts, taking medical courses, writing On the Edge of the Primeval Forest, The Decay and Restoration of Civilization, Civilization and Ethics, and Christianity and the Religions of the World.

Schweitzer returned to Lambaréné in 1924 and except for relatively short periods of time, spent the remainder of his life there. With the funds earned from his own royalties and personal appearance fees and with those donated from all parts of the world, he expanded the hospital to seventy buildings which by the early 1960’s could take care of over 500 patients in residence at any one time.

At Lambaréné, Schweitzer was doctor and surgeon in the hospital, pastor of a congregation, administrator of a village, superintendent of buildings and grounds, writer of scholarly books, commentator on contemporary history, musician, host to countless visitors. The honors he received were numerous, including the Goethe Prize of Frankfurt and honorary doctorates from many universities emphasizing one or another of his achievements. The Nobel Peace Prize for 1952, having been withheld in that year, was given to him on December 10, 1953. With the $33,000 prize money, he started the leprosarium at Lambaréné.

Albert Schweitzer died on September 4, 1965, and was buried at Lambaréné.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1952/schweitzer-bio.html

Every change is a form of liberation. My mother used to say a change is always good even if it’s for the worse.

December 26, 2008

Paula Rego

Paula Figueiroa Rego, (born 1935) is a Portuguese painter, illustrator and printmaker.

Rego was born in Lisbon within a rich family, during Salazar´s regime, which would be a later influence in her work. Rego was sent to St Julian’s School, Carcavelos, Portugal before studying at the Slade School of Art where she met the artist Victor Willing, whom she eventually married. The two divided their time between Portugal and England until 1975, when they moved to England permanently. In 1988, Willing died after suffering for some years from multiple sclerosis. Mother-in-law to Ron Mueck whose career she influenced, Rego was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989 and was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by Oxford University in June 2005.

She started painting at the age of four. Her work often gives a sinister edge to storybook imagery, emphasizing malicious domination or the subversion of natural order. She deals with social realities that are polemic, an example being her important Triptych (1998) on the subject of abortion, now in the collection of Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal. Rego’s style is often compared to cartoon illustration. As in cartoons, animals are often depicted in human roles and situations. Later work adopts a more realistic style, but sometimes keeps the animal references — the Dog Woman series of the 1990s, for example, is a set of pastel pictures depicting women in a variety of dog-like poses (on all fours, baying at the moon, and so on).

Rego has also painted a portrait of Germaine Greer, which is in the National Portrait Gallery in London, as well as the official presidency portrait of Jorge Sampaio. Rego only ever painted one self-portrait including her grand daughter, Grace Smart, that sold for some £300,000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Rego

A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!

December 25, 2008

Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Chatham, and Dickens considered his years there as the happiest of his childhood. In 1822, the family moved to London, where his father worked as a clerk in the navy pay office. Dickens’ family was considered middle class, however, his father had a difficult time managing money. His extravagant spending habits brought the family to financial disaster, and in 1824, John Dickens was imprisoned for debt.

Charles was the oldest of the Dickens children, and a result of his father’s imprisonment, he was withdrawn from school and sent to work in a shoe-dye factory. During this period, Dickens lived alone in a lodging house in North London and considered the entire experience the most terrible of his life. Nevertheless, it was this experience that shaped his much of his future writing.

After receiving an inheritance several months later, Dickens’ father was released from prison. Although Dickens’ mother wanted him to stay at work, resulting in bitter resentment towards her, his father allowed him to return to school. His schooling was again interrupted and ultimately ended when Dickens was forced to return to work at age 15. He became a clerk in a law firm, then a shorthand reporter in the courts, and finally a parliamentary and newspaper reporter.

In 1833, Dickens began to contribute short stories and essays to periodicals. He then provided a comic narrative to accompany a series of engravings, which were published as the Pickwick Papers in 1836. Within several months, Dickens became internationally popular. He resigned from his position as a newspaper reporter and became editor of a monthly magazine entitled Bentley’s Miscellany. Also during 1836, Dickens married Catherine Hogarth. Together, they had nine surviving children, before they separated in 1858.

Dickens’ career continued at an intense pace for the next several years. Oliver Twist was serialized in Bentley’s Miscellany beginning in 1837. Then, with Oliver Twist only half completed, Dickens began to publish monthly installments of Nicholas Nickleby in 1838. Because he had so many projects in the works, Dickens was barely able to stay ahead of his monthly deadlines. After the completion of Twist and Nickleby, Dickens produced weekly installments of The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge.

After a short working vacation in the United States in 1841, Dickens continued at his break-neck pace. He began to publish annual Christmas stories, beginning with A Christmas Carol in 1843. Within the community, Dickens actively fought for social issues; such as education reform, sanitary measures, and slum clearance, and he began to directly address social issues in novels such as Dombey and Son (1846-48).

In 1850, Dickens established a weekly journal entitled Household Words to which he contributed the serialized works of Child’s History of England (1851-53), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1860-61). At the same time, Dickens continued to work on his novels, including David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-53), Little Dorrit (1855-57), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-65). As his career progressed, Dickens became more and more disenchanted. His works had always reflected the pains of the common man, but works such as Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend expressed his progressing anger and disillusionment with society.

In 1858, Dickens began a series of paid readings, which became instantly popular. Through these readings, Dickens was able to combine his love of the stage with an accurate rendition of his writings. In all, Dickens performed more than 400 times. The readings often left him exhausted and ill, but they allowed him to increase his income, receive creative satisfaction, and stay in touch with his audience.

After the breakup of his marriage with Catherine, Dickens moved permanently to his country house called Gad’s Hill, near Chatham in 1860. It was also around this time that Dickens became involved in an affair with a young actress named Ellen Ternan. The affair lasted until Dickens’ death, but it was kept quite secret. Information about the relationship is scanty.

Dickens was required to abandon his reading tours in 1869 after his health began to decline. He retreated to Gad’s Hill and began to work on Edwin Drood, which was never completed. died suddenly at home on June 9, 1870. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Bibliographic Citation Format:

Author’s last name, first name, middle initial. “Title of biography.” SPECTRUM Home & School Magazine. [http://www.incwell.com/Spectrum.html] (date accessed). © K. B. Shaw

http://www.incwell.com/Biographies/Dickens.html

I want one or two words to answer all the problems of the world.

December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Jonathan Borofsky

Nowhere is the confluence and incongruity of style and attitude more apparent than in the art of Jonathan Borofsky. Although his work over the past 30 years has been marked by numerous stylistic shifts, it remains primarily conceptual: it is as much about the process of creation as it is about the individual objects he makes.

In the late 60s, after completing his academic art training, Borofsky decided that “painting and object-making were dead” and he stopped making “things” altogether. ” I started thinking a lot,” he says, “Duchamp to Pollock, Pollock to whom, to what?” For the better part of the year, he sat in the studio, “writing thoughts down for hours at a time-notations and diagrams about the universe and about time.” After a year or so of that “heavy thinking routine,” Borofsky found himself writing numbers 1, 2, 3 … 1, 2, 3 … 1, 2, 3 … repetitively on sheets of paper for an hour or more. Eventually, he decided to count consecutively “from one to whatever” and write the numbers on sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, thinking that if he kept at it for a while, the process might teach him something. Still counting in 1973 by now the stack of papers measured 31/2 feet high and contained more than 1,000,000 numbers-Borofsky found he had been making little scribbles on the numbered pages-stick figures, heads in trees and other cryptic forms-which initially he ignored. “Then one day,” as he explains it, “I looked at one of the scribbles and thought, I’d like to make a painting of that. So I went out and got a little canvas board and some oil paints-like I was eight years old again and beginning my first painting lesson. lt took me about two hours to finish it … I took the number I had been counting and put it in the corner of the painting. Something connected there. I had both a recognizable image and a conceptual ordering in time. I realized I could continue the counting and yet bring back my image-making which I had dropped in the late ’60s.” Thus began a long series of paintings, each rendered on commercial canvas board in a naive, even childlike style.

Indeed, the first works in the series were based on childhood memories but later, fueled by his group analysis sessions, Borofsky began using his dreams as points of departure, writing them down on paper in the morning, later transferring them to canvas boards or stretched canvas. Borofsky’s paintings provide a constant reminder that beneath the exuberant expressionistic facade of his art is a highly methodical base.

Perusing the myriad images that span the past ten years of Borofsky’s production we find certain recurring themes, the most persistent of which is “the fear of being chased.” Commenting on Borofsky’s use of free association and dreams as catalysts for his work, several critics have suggested a kinship between his art and that of the surrealists. Unlike the surrealists, however, who used dreams to probe the mysteries of the unconscious, Borofsky uses dreams to clarify the meaning of ordinary experiences.

http://www.e-fineart.com/biography/borofsky.html

Shadow boxes become poetic theaters or settings wherein are metamorphosed the element of a childhood pastime.

December 23, 2008

Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell was not a sculptor, a draftsman, or a painter. This internationally renowned modern artist never had professional training. He was first and foremost a collector. He loved to scour old book shops and secondhand stores of new York looking for souvenirs, theatrical memorabilia, old prints and photographs, music scores, and French literature.

Joseph Cornell was born on Christmas Eve 1903. He was the oldest of four children born to Helen and Joseph Cornell. He had two sisters, Betty and Helen, and a brother, Robert.

Cornell grew up in a grand house in Nyack, New York, a picturesque Victorian town on the Hudson River. Cornell’s parents shared their love of music, ballet, and literature with their children. Evenings were spent around the piano, or listening to music on the family Victrola. Trips to New York meant vaudeville shows in Times Square or magic acts at the Hippodrome. His father often returned from his job in Manhattan with new sheet music, silver charms, or a pocket full of candy. But Cornell’s childhood was not without sadness. His brother, born with cerebral palsy, was confined to a wheelchair. Joseph, who was extremely attached to Robert, became his principal caretaker.

http://www.josephcornellbox.com/lifeart.htm

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.

December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Gerard Basquiat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and his mother, Matilde was born in Brooklyn of Puerto Rican parents. Early on, Basquiat displayed a proficiency in art which was encouraged by his mother. 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). “SAMO© as an end to mindwash religion, nowhere politics, and bogus philosophy,” “SAMO© saves idiots,” “Plush safe he think; SAMO© .”

In 1978 Basquiat left home for good and quit school just one year before graduating form high school. He lived with friends and began selling hand painted postcards and T-shirts. In June of 1980, Basquiat’s art was publicly exhibited for the first time in a show sponsored by Colab (Collaborative Projects Incorporated) along with the work of Jenny Holzer, Lee Quinones, Kenny Scharf, Kiki Smith, Robin Winters, John Ahearn, Jane Dickson, Mike Glier, Mimi Gross, and David Hammons. Basquiat continued to exhibit his work around New York City and in Europe, participating in shows along with the likes of Keith Haring, Barbara Kruger.

In December of 1981, poet and artist Rene Ricard published the first major article on Basquiat entitled “The Radiant Child” in Artforum. In 1982, Basquiat was featured in the group show “Transavanguardia: Italia/America” along with Neo-Expressionists Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzu Cucchi, David Deutsch, David Salle, and Julian Schnabel (who will go on to direct the biographical film Basquiat in 1996). In 1983 Basquiat had one-artist exhibitions at the galleries of Annina Nosei and Larry Gagosian and was also included in the “1983 Biennial Exhibition” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It was also in 1983 that Basquiat was befriended by Andy Warhol, a relationship which sparked discussion concerning white patronization of black art, a conflict which remains, to this day, at the center of most discussions of Basquiat’s life and work. Basquiat and Warhol collaborated on a number of paintings, none of which are are critically acclaimed. Their relationship continued, despite this, until Warhol’s death in 1987.

By 1984, many of Basquiat’s friends had become quite concerned about his excessive drug 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. On February 10, 1985, Basquiat appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, posing for the Cathleen McGuigan article “New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist.” In March , Basquiat had his second one-artist show at the Mary Boone Gallery. In the exhibition catalogue, Robert Farris Thompson spoke of Basquiat’s work in terms of an Afro-Atlantic tradition, a context in which this art had never been discussed.

In 1986, Basquiat travelled to Africa for the first time and his work was shown in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In November, a large exhibition of more than sixty paintings and drawings opened at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover; at twenty-five Basquiat was the youngest artist ever given an exhibition there. In 1988, Basquiat had shows in both Paris and New York; the New York show was praised by some critics, an encouraging development. Basquiat attempted to kick his heroin addiction by leaving the temptations of New York for his ranch in Hawaii. He returned to New York in June claiming to be drug-free. On August 12 , Basquiat died as the result of a heroin overdose. He was 27.

Primary source for biography:
Sirmans, M. Franklin. “Chronology.” Jean-Michel Basquiat. Ed. Richard Marshall. New York: Whitney/Abrams, 1992. 233-250.

http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Basquiat.html