Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jean Michel Basquiat - A model for the American Pupusa aesthetic

Last year, I had this brief fascination with Fab Five Freddy as a catalyst for Hip Hop culture, art, music, and media... I think he is kinda slept on for his impact as an ambassador of these genres to the mainstream audience. And I owe a debt to him, cause otherwise I wouldn't know of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I mean, dude was a graffiti artist as well as an artist in the high-brow art world. He is the most successful Black artist in this vein. He is from Haitian and Puerto Rican descent (Dad and Mom respectively). He dated Madonna (eh, that's not really high on my list really). But most importantly, I believe he reinvented the way his contexts and identity is used/presented through his work. If this was his intention or not... I'm not too familiar. But in true 'American Pupusa" fashion (when you are done reading this see my previous post on What is the American Pupusa) I think he broke from the chains of played-out, romanticized tributes to 'heritage' through meanderings and laments to the past, and smearing any sense of "...ness" on top, through, over, and below whatever topic is at play.

Here is a small interview where he addresses culture/identity in his work

Here he is from Downtown 81, doing some writing

I found an online article from Emory University that talks about this here.

Finally, art, graf, rhyming, and DJing all together... Lee Quinones alongside Fab Five meeting up with Jean-Michel...

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