Words Are All We Have

Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Words Are All We Have
Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Text(s) by Dieter Buchhart, ed. Dieter Buchhart

English

2016. 208 pp., 103 ills.

hardcover

29.60 x 29.60 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-4184-2

The bundled text fragments of the influential and multitalented American artist examined in detail for the first time

In the New York of the eighties, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) was the first African-American artist to receive international attention. The enormous scope of his oeuvre is inversely proportional to the short, productive period he was given. As the complexity and trailblazing innovative power of his paintings and drawings has been previously discussed at length—this book focuses on the creative aspect of language in Basquiat’s work. With its complex structures, spontaneous rhythms, and sampled, collage-like manifestations appealing to all of the senses, his work was vaulted into the orbit of the Beat Generation’s pop poets and the protagonists of the musical avant-garde. The multitalented Basquiat created a shimmering, syncopated fabric of images and text, which the American curator and critic Robert Storr aptly called “eye rap.” It was this unpretentious, avant-garde and spontaneous way of working with which Jean-Michel Basquiat wrote art history. It was an artistic means for him to respond to the complexity of modern life in the big city.

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