Friends Of Jean-Michel Basquiat To Discuss His Legacy In Abu Dhabi

27 March 2019
The stellar cast of 1996's Basquiat
Getty Images

The stellar cast of 1996's Basquiat

Some of the artist’s close collaborators and friends are set to appear together as part of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s Talking Art Series

The fascination with the Jean-Michel Basquiat has continued to grow since his death in 1980.

Books, documentaries and a high profile Hollywood movie have been dedicated to his short but prolific artistic journey.

In 1997, Jeffrey Wright starred as Basquiat alongside a stellar cast the included Benecio Del Toro, Claire Forlaini, Dennis Hopper, Michael Wincott, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, Courtney Love, Parker Posey, Tatum O’Neal and, memorably, David Bowie as Andy Warhol.

That such a remarkable group of actors took part in what was meant to be an indie film was acknowledgment of just how influential Basquiat had become since his passing a decade and half earlier.

But what is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artistic legacy today and how does he continue to influence visual artists, musicians and pop culture?

To answer these questions, some of the artist’s close collaborators and friends are set to appear together as part of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s Talking Art Series.

Moderated by writer and Basquiat scholar Chaédria LaBouvier, the panel includes Leonard “Futura” Hilton McGurr, an innovator in New York City’s graffiti movement in the 1970s. He collaborated with Basquiat in the 1980s and exhibited alongside him, as well as Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf.

Also participating is curator, dealer and advisor Jeffrey Deitch. He was a friend of Basquiat’s, attending gigs by the artist’s band Gray, whose sound was famously dissonant and atonal. Deitch was among the first to write about Basquiat, later contributing to the book Jean-Michel Basquiat: 1981, the Studio of the Street (2007).

The panel includes a 20-minute version of the documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010) an intimate portrait of the artist through a rare interview by friend and director Tamra Davis.

The film traces Basquiat’s rise to fame and probes the artist’s charismatic yet tragic allure within the context of the East Village scene and the rise of celebrity culture in the art world of the 1980s.


Guggenheim Abu Dhabi: In Conversation with Basquiat’s Friends
17 April | 6:30pm
Louvre Abu Dhabi, Auditorium