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View All Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child News
All Critics (35)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (30)
| Rotten (5)
| DVD (2)
Tamra Davis's documentary does serve as a worthy companion to Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic.
In the end the art must speak for the artist; Davis wisely stands aside and lets the magical images tell their tales.
A touching portrait that may not be the last word on the painter, but has facts and context to burn.
The intimate, home video footage -- which has never been shown -- feels poignant, a throwback to Basquiat's early days on the New York scene when he got by on his good looks, an elusive inner confidence, and the generosity of others.
[Davis] underplays the place of drugs in the downtown club scene, treating the artist's heroin use as a nearly unaccountable late affliction.
While it is wonderful to see so many Basquiat paintings, at the film's end the viewer is left feeling complicit in the exploitation.
... [Director Tamra Davis] shows us an unknown facet of the artist, with a series of interviews and touching images that reveal the personality of a contemporary art hero... [Full review in Spanish]
Tamra Davis's documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child might make you weep (it did me) and might help you better appreciate a painter whose work matters enormously in the history of late-twentieth-century art.
What may convince viewers of the quality of the art and the genius of its creator is the barrage of so many paintings, flashing each briefly before the eyes.
Basquiat appears to be a slippery subject, not unlike Bob Dylan, who is very difficult to decipher.
[Director Tamra Davis] uses [a rare] interview as the foundation for an eye-opening look at Basquiat’s meteoric career — and how art, fame, drugs and media collided in this one young man’s life.
When you see J-M's works next to Da Vinci, Picasso and Grey's Anatomy, you can see their influence, but their ideas take on new tone, texture and style under Basquiat's brush.
Up until now, I knew little about Jean-Michel Basquiat, even though I remember the biopic which had been made about his life and have not seen.(That having been said, David Bowie as Andy Warhol? Really?) That all changes with Tamra Davis' fascinating documentary "The Radiant Child" wherein she adds interview footage she had shot of Basquiat to more recent footage of friends and lovers talking about his life and work. So, not only does a personal portrait form but also an artistic one of a street artist once referred to Sam-O with a wordy style that never quite fades. He is noticed and given and takes full opportunity of a chance to create more permanent artwork with influences from a medical textbook, pop culture and William Burroughs which formed paintings that would become very popular, influential and expensive. The documentary starts around 1980 in New York City at a time of cheap rents that benefited the art scene where anybody could have his artwork displayed that makes Basquiat's rise possible, followed by a complete reversal to a top down art world that ends up destroying him.
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