Art Critic Robert Hughes Got It Wrong: Basquiat Wasn’t a Light Weight He Was a Casual Genius

Essay by Luke Foster

“It’s bad to use words like ‘genius’ unless you are talking about the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, the black Chatterton of the 80s who, during a picturesque career as sexual hustler, addict, and juvenile art-star, made a superficial mark on the cultural surface by folding the conventions of street graffiti into those of art brut before killing himself with an overdose at the age of twenty-seven.”
Robert Hughes

World famous Australian art critic Robert Hughes didn’t like Jean Michel Basquiat’s art and his essay about him was titled the requiem of a lightweight. However, I saw a pop art show in Queensland last week and his drawings and paintings in it were remarkable and awe inspiring. He negotiated the place of black culture in America in sport, art, and cinema. The exhibition at Home of the Arts was titled: Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York.

The Basquiat’s in the show were either on paper, canvas or on a football helmet.

I was in the Basquiat mood last night so watched the New York artist Julian Schnabel’s movie about him.

“The black person is the protagonist in most of my paintings. I realized that I didn’t see many paintings with black people in them.” Jean-Michel Basquiat

When I was in New York and visited the big museums, I was most impressed with the large-scale Basquiat’s.

“Some days I can’t get an idea, and I think, ‘Man, I’m just washed up,’ but it’s just a mood.” Jean-Michel Basquiat

I can relate to this quote by Basquiat as I have days too when I have no ideas, I think I have lost my creative muse.

Warhol and Basquiat

Warhol and Basquiat collaborated on paintings however I feel their best work was made separately.

Hollywood Africans that i saw in New York and I think it was at MOMA.