Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Apples and Lemons, 1985
Acrylic, coloured oilsticks and synthetic polymer paint silkscreened on canvas.
206 x 268.5 cm
Collection of Thaddaeus Ropac
©The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar,New York
©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, inc. / SODRAC (2014)
Today, I managed to have awaken from a long slumber of non-stop work shifts and multiple jobs and managed en route to another to slip into the Jean-Michel Basquiat show at the AGO.
I had missed the opening weekend and just did not want Black History month to end without having seen it at least once.
I was floored. I had never before paid attention to his works because to see art reproduced in print and definitely online are quite another matter. To have moved through this exhibition was the most lucid of flying dreams.
The Self-Portraits, Chinese New Year/Year of the Boar, Every Untitled work, the above collaborative work with Andy Warhol and most especially, Oreo, all provoked such wonder, and they each affected a deep soulful resonance.
What can one say, the man was an unparalleled genius and, most of all, he loved Jazz; he loved Charlie Parker!
I got on my Samsung Note 4 and texted everyone I know demanding that they haul arse toute de suite to be wowed. My adorable sister will come to town on the weekend, to gaze and praise. We’ll have a blast.
The sense of colour, attack and the unmistakable afrocentrism are what really moved me and above it all is this W. E. B. Du Bois quote which I had long forgotten; it sits beneath the description for the painting Black Soap 1981:
“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”
And how the lunatic racial predators love laughing their vapid skulls in seething grudge; indeed, Jazz has its roots in klezmer!
So very nice to see that the hunter has fast emerged in this millennium’s infancy as the prey. Is it any wonder as their real and unwavering enemy rages terror on their civilisation that they turn around and grow even more resentful, spiteful, murderous towards us, thereby betraying their cowardice?
What can they do? When for so long the racial predator has reigned supreme and unchallenged, along comes a genuine foe with an even greater sanguineous appetite for the hunt.
Keep whistling, you can’t possibly be preyed on. Why should karma apply to the racial predator indeed?
This show has been a marvellous feast; it is one to which I will return and ravenously devour… time and again.
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