Critiques of a strategist : Jean-Michel Basquiat (thesis)
Jean-Michael Basquiat (1960-1988) was one of the most distinguished artists of the 1980s international art scene. His strategic alliances with the media and major galleries in New York City allowed him to legitimize his street art, make lucrative profits, and become the "ethnic artist" of his time. Art dealers, collectors, and critics appreciated Basquiat's work because he daringly combined popular graffiti and neo-expressionist aesthetics to comment on subjects that few of his renowned contemporaries addressed: power, commodification and the black celebrity. Although subject to the whims of the market and critics, he negotiated the demands of commercialism to create work with "in-your-face arrogance and suicidal honesty." The directness of his work complemented the agency he exercised in making a distinguished career. This fact has often been downplayed by projections of Basquiat as a demure and impressionable artist. I argue that he was very much aware of how his works and companionships helped him maneuver his way through the commercial market and redefine expectations of black artists. [From the Introduction]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT RESTRICTED TO WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY LOGIN]Yasmine Espert is a member of the Class of 2011 of Washington and Lee University.
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