GENEVA -- A Swiss museum will present what it says is the broadest retrospective ever seen in Europe of the work of American artist Jean-MichelBasquiat. The ambitious show hosted by the BeyelerFoundation features more than 100 paintings, drawings and objects by Basquiat, many borrowed from private collections, the foundation said Friday, the exhibition at the museum in Riehen near Basel marks the 50th anniversary of his birth. Basquiat died of a drug overdose at age 27 in 1988. He created about 1,000 paintings and more than 2,000 drawings in eight years. His work had a heavy influence on the art scene in the1990s.
The exhibition, set up with the support of Basquiat's estate, runs through Sept. 5. and then will be going on to Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris on October 15, 2010, where it will be on view through January 30, 2011. Once dubbed "The Radiant child" by Rene Ricard, Basquiat's undeniable presence as an artist has always intrigued me. We crossed paths sometimes downtown on the street or at clubs in the 80's and shortly before he passed away I'll never forget dancing one night next to him and Keith Haring and feeling he was looking a little burnt out and not so healthy at this time but still I could see that radiant being underneath it all and really secretively wished to myself for him to survive all the chaos which was enveloping him at the time.
Basquiat in his Great Jones Studio, NYC, 1985
Whenever I stand in front of his paintings I feel completely taken by his
spontaneity, his development of his own beautiful language, his ability
to just pore out his gut in the most raw and truthful way and then at
the same time having that supreme control over all of it. I was
grateful to catch his show in 2005 at the Brooklyn Museum because it was
such a great collection containing my all time favorite pieces but this
show, being the biggest so far will have over 300 works and if there
was one show I would've loved to see this year it would be this one for
sure. Happy Birthday Jean- Michel!