Jean Michel Basquiat
“Type” b/ Living Colour
1996 — A biographical film directed by Julian Schnabel
based on the life of American postmodernist/neo expressionist artist
Jean-Michel Basquiat. Brooklyn-born Basquiat used his graffiti roots as a foundation to create collage-style paintings on canvas.
Jeffrey Wright portrays Basquiat, and
David Bowie plays Basquiat’s friend and mentor
Additional cast members include:
Gary Oldman as a thinly disguised Schnabel.
Michael Wincott as the poet and art critic
Dennis Hopper as
Parker Posey as gallery owner
Christopher Walken as a villainous journalist, and
Benicio del Toro in supporting roles as “composite characters”.
The film was written by Schnabel and
Michael Holman, who was also credited for story development,
with story by
Lech Majewski and
Holman, a former member of theatrical rock group
The Tubes first met Basquiat in 1979
and together that year they founded an experimental, industrial/electronica group called Gray.
A struggling artist, living in a cardboard box in Tompkins Square Park, Basquiat works his way into the high-flying, pretentiously small world of so-called, New York City Fine Art.
The Early 1980s was an explosive time, especially in NYC, and the urban ghettos in Northeast America.
with the street corners, subway stops, and neighborhood parks were evolving into what became known as the B-Boy culture … A social and artistic movement, led by:
MCs — “THE MESSAGE”
GRAFFITI WRITERS — “STYLE WARS”
BREAK DANCERS — “WILD STYLE” / “BEAT STREET”
opened the door into who took a liking to the poor, little beggar boy, and welcomed him into the New York City Art World where the most common medium is MONEY.
The story also follows Basquiat’s tumultuous relationship with
Gina (Claire Forlani) a fellow aspiring artist he meets while she is working as a waitress at a diner he frequents with his friend
Benny (Benicio del Toro).
Their romance is affected by Basquiat’s affair with the so-called
“Big Pink” (Courtney Love),
a woman he picks up on the street, and his habitual abuse of heroin.
Eventually, Basquiat finds himself isolated by his fame, the death of Warhol, and his drug use.
The film ends with a title card informing the audience that Jean-Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988, at the age of 27.
Take A Walk On The Wild Side
CHELSEA HOTEL / MAX’S KANSAS CITY / SEX PISTOLS / CRASS