Tag Archives: Andy warhol

Back to the 80’s

THE NEW WAVE

The 1980s New York Art scene gave rise to emerging young talent, such as the artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring and introduced musicians  Debra Harry (Blondie) and Madonna. Andy Warhol had created a niche that they were destined to populate. The concept of the artist as a brand and a superstar seduced the young and transported them from Graffiti Artists to Legends. The middle classes had left the town for a comfortable suburban life and the urban alleys and apartments became a playground for the creativily misunderstood. The video clip of Blondies ‘Rapture’ introduced the new players.

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Basquiat’s work reveals a tapestry of lines that go into the development of the image whereas Haring’s art, is the stripped back result. The NGV exhibition is currently showcasing both artists under the banner of ‘Crossing Lines’. It’s a journey back into our recent past. 

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Untitled 1982

In the early 80’s, Basquiat was surviving without an income and sourced materials from his environment. He took doors and whatever boards he could from condemned properties, to be his canvas. The palette is made up of house paint and oil pastels, this makes the work more intimate as the artists circumstance is apparent. The roughly stretched canvas suggest an artist more interested in the work than the presentation.

Both artists were acute to the prejudices hidden within the social fabric of the time. Haring and Basquiat were presented in the 1981 ‘Public Address’ exhibition hosted by Annina Nosei Gallery. The work ‘Irony of a Negro Policeman’ addressed the issues Basquiat struggled with; that police hurt Black Americans. The figure with anxious eyes and a clenched mouth highlights the inner turmoil. Using the word PAWN; he spells out his conviction.

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Irony of a Negro Policeman 1981
Haring once said;
Basquiat 'wielded his brush as a weapon, struggling against exploitation, consumer society. repression, racism and genocide'

In Haring’s ‘Malcom X’ 1988; he visually records the activists death within a red noose, likening it to a trophy killing.

Jean-Paul Basquiat rode in limousines because taxis wouldn’t stop for him. He lived the Art Star lifestyle within the dangerous backdrop of racial realities. Many of Basquaits works are untitled, allowing the imagery to speak volumes, like the artist. A man of few words, using Art, to describe his large emotions. He often used halo’s above his anatomic skulls as a reference to the deaths of martyrs.

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Untitled 1984

Both Basquiat and Haring considered themselves ‘Radiant Children’ entitled and indulgent. They crossed the line in decadence that would ultimately lead to their early demise.  Basquiat threw parties serving caviar and cocaine and at 27 died from an overdose. Haring lived an unrestrained party-life and eventually fell victim to Aids. They rose out of the tar of the City, like flowers in the cracked sidewalk and as the era faded away, the value of their work became currency.

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detail from Untitled (Pecho/Oreja)         82-83

 

GO ON THE NGV VIRTUAL TOUR of the exhibition.

 

Poster Boy, SAMO & Mr. Eternity:

The power of the word is omnipresent, we can all view it in unique perspectives, and although many witness it , at the same time; our moment is personal. The word ‘universe’ translates as ‘one-short phrase’. One Word, in a biblical sense created life. Words are used daily to encourage, to hurt , to build prejudice, and so forth. Advertisers use words with the motive to sell; Evangelists use words to save souls and graffiti artists use the word to engage.

PETER DREW

Peter Drew; Adelaide born artist has plastered the country with elegant portraits of Aussie’s that enable us to question the meaning of being Australian; a concept beyond a backyard BBQ.

“When your sneaking around the City at night you feel like a kid again.”

Drew is a peace activist that pastes a sense of reason into the hearts of the commuter. A casual glance at his picture-word statements is a thought provoking experience. He recognises that the street is an equaliser and draws the spectator into a dialogue of connection. Drew questions identity and inclusion. In a hi-vis vest, the artist has plastered up to 4000 artworks with a glue bucket and a broom.

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What began as local phenomena, has boomed into an International experience; his reaction has become a political dialogue. He is an Artist with a message.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

The NGV is currently hosting an exhibition that highlights the rise of New York Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat whose career began with writing simple and convoluted statements on city walls, under the identity of SAMO. Influenced by Andy Warhol, the artist leapt from advertiser to agitator, using the concepts of ownership and branding in a broader concept.

Basquiat entered the art scene as an urban nomad notorious for couch-surfing and graffitiing the homes within which he stayed. With word and form the artist took ownership of the material, ownership was translucent, a tender shift from theirs to mine, with a simple C within a circle around it and it was copyright; it was his.

Within the Warhol tradition the ‘Radiant Child’ used graffiti to promote his brand and identity, the ME generation was born, already bored with life. Basquiat however, possessed a passion that his mentor lacked; a statement involving the treatment of the ‘Black People’ in American.

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History of the Black People 1983
ARTHUR STACE

Mr Eternity was a media title endowed upon a graffiti artist that wrote the word ETERNITY in perfect copper plate using chalk and crayon around the streets of Sydney for over 20 years. He kept his identity secret, until he was caught in the act. On the New Years Eve of 2000, the Harbour Bridge blazed with the word ETERNITY in honour of its humble artist.

Arthur Stace was a broken man when he walked into a Church for some tea and rock cake. He was an alcoholic born into domestic violence and palmed off to foster care, he fought in WW1 and lost the mental battle. Waiting for his cake and tea he was subject to a sermon that resonated within him and he became transfixed with the concept of eternity. He left the Church in the dark and broke down into tears, beneath an urban fig tree. This was his turning point, he never drank again.

“You’ll soon be back in the gutter again.” 

Local police scoffed at the ‘new man’. He was back in the gutter but this time , not to lay in it, but to save souls and feed the homeless; he was on a mission. His practice was to rise at 4am, help the homeless and graffiti the word ETERNITY though-out the City.