Coming to NYC’s Stranger Than Fiction tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17:
BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
New York, IDFA, Thessaloniki Doc, San Francisco, Bentonville, Panama, Full Frame, IFF Boston
An exploration of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s early development as an artist in late 1970s/early 1980s NYC.
Driver’s film is firmly set in the emerging worlds of contemporary art and street culture in a bankrupt, dangerous NYC between 1978-1981, and how this environment influenced Basquiat’s development. Commentators from writer Luc Sante, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, cultural personality Fab 5 Freddy, artists Kenny Scharf and Lee Quinones, curators, as well as other scenesters who had close relationships with Basquiat, share memories of the scene and how Basquiat participated in and was shaped by it. The Mudd Club and Club 57, the work of the Colab, and the emergence of graffiti all factor in, with anecdotes, reflections, and even some resentment abounding. On the personal side, former girlfriends/friends offer their reflections on the nascent artist’s wandering ways, sleeping with various women, crashing at random apartments for a time, basically being homeless, but very ambitious, absorbing all that he came across and shaping his work to attract attention and make a name for himself. While fittingly rough around the edges, Driver’s portrait is engaging and offers first-hand reflections on a vibrant time in the American art scene and in NYC culture that well contextualized Basquiat’s development and ambition as an artist.