Only a few weeks since opening, the exhibition “Basquiat: Boom for Real” at the Barbican Art Gallery (London), through January 28, is already a popular sensation. This week, there’s also Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a new documentary film by Sara Driver, opening at the New York Film Festival. For Basquiat, the phrase “boom for real” meant that something or someone was the real thing. It’s not surprising that the phrase is now being applied to him and his art.
Amidst the flurry of press surrounding the Basquiat exhibition in England are interviews in Dazed and Flashbak with Gallery 98’s Marc H. Miller, about the interview he conducted with Basquiat in 1982 for Paul Tschinkel’s video series ART/new york. While many photographs of Basquiat exist, as well as film footage of the artist at work, video footage showing him actually talking is extremely rare. Tamra Davis and Becky Johnson’s interview, included in Davis’s film Radiant Child, shows a tired and dispirited Basquiat toward the end of his life. In contrast, the ART/new york interview catches an alert young artist at the top of his game, humorous and combative. And unlike his earlier appearances on Glenn O’Brien’s anything-goes “TV Party,” here Basquiat talks about his art, explicating the in-progress painting “Notary.”
98 Bowery has the finished ART/new york segment about Basquiat’s exhibition at the Fun Gallery available for free streaming. Copies of the full, unedited 40-minute interview can be purchased from ART/new york.