Jean-Michel Basquiat has a big presence on Gallery 98 in part because Marc H. Miller, the founder of the site, knew Basquiat, and conducted the very first interview with him in November 1982. The complete transcript of this historic video interview is now featured in the newly published The Jean-Michel Basquiat Reader: Writings, Interviews, and Critical Responses edited by Jordana Moore Saggese.
From 1981-84, Miller collaborated with Paul Tschinkel, whose pioneering ART/new york videotape series brought contemporary art exhibitions to schools, libraries and museums. The video program “Young Expressionists” featured Basquiat’s Fun Gallery exhibition along with segments on Julian Schnabel and Francesco Clemente. You can see the Basquiat sequence from “Young Expressionists” and read Miller’s account of the interview on his autobiographical website 98 Bowery. Although only a small section of the 1982 interview was used for the video, Paul Tschinkel has recently made the full 35-minute interview available for streaming on Vimeo on Demand.
Because the ART/new york interview was Basquiat’s first, it has the distinction of being the opening item of the Basquiat Reader anthology. Saggese notes in her introduction that “reading the interviews against one another and in chronological order gives readers a view of the artist’s growing mastery of his own narrative.” This progression began with his first interview in 1982.
Miller’s interest in Basquiat extends to Gallery 98. Of special note is the online exhibition A Survey of Jean-Michel Basquiat Ephemera: Announcement Cards, Posters and Publications 1981-88. This ongoing accumulation of Basquiat ephemera provides a chronological record of his tragically short career.