Saturday, January 16, 2010

S'ak Pase, Someone Please Call 911

This post is a tribute to a few Haitian artists whose work I love and appreciate.  In response to this week's tragedy in Haiti, DOXA Home and Doxa Design Group, Inc will be donating 10% of our sales to Doctor's Without Borders, a non political or religious group which does amazing work and has been in Haiti for many years.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by,  I hope you enjoy the following pieces:

Quick note, I find opening the videos to full screen far more engaging, just a thought;)

Jean Michel Basquiat

Basquiat’s art career is known for his three broad, though overlapping styles. In the earliest period, from 1980 to late 1982, Basquiat used painterly gestures on canvas, often depicting skeletal figures and mask-like faces that expressed his obsession with mortality. Other frequently depicted imagery such as automobiles, buildings, police, children’s sidewalk games, and graffiti came from his experience painting on the city streets.

A middle period from late 1982 to 1985 featured multipanel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with writing, collage and seemingly unrelated imagery. These works reveal a strong interest in Basquiat’s black identity and his identification with historical and contemporary black figures and events. On one occasion Basquiat painted his girlfriend’s dress, with his words, a “Little Shit Brown”.

The final period, from about 1986 to Basquiat’s death in 1988, displays a new type of figurative depiction, in a new style with different symbols and content from new sources. This period seems to have also had a profound impact on the styles of artists who admired Basquiat’s work.

In 1982, Basquiat became friends with pop artist Andy Warhol and the two made a number of collaborative works. They also painted together, influencing each others’ work. Some speculated that Andy Warhol was merely using Basquiat for some of his techniques and insight. Their relationship continued until Warhol’s death in 1987. Warhol’s death was very distressing for Basquiat, and it is speculated by Phoebe Hoban, in Basquiat, her 1998 biography on the artist, that Warhol’s death was a turning point for Basquiat, and that afterwards his drug addiction and depression began to spiral.


Slide show of Basquiat's work as well as images of himself and his friends, set to the sadly appropriate song by the Velvet Underground, Heroin.

Jean Michel lived in the East Village, my former hood, along side other 80's icons such as Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry and Madonna.  What I would do to go back in time!  The Factory...sigh.  Anyway, Basquiat appears in Blondie's classic video for Rapture, he's the DJ. 

If you have yet to see it now.  I remember seeing it at the Tampa Theater, which I must cover  in another post.  Anyway, a great film (although the visuals and soundtrack are much stronger than the actual screenplay) which features EVERYONE... Dennis Hopper, David Bowie, Benicio Del Torro, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldham, Willem Defoe, Claire Forlani, Courtney Love, Parker Posey AND the film was done by art world big wig as well as designer of  Ian Schrager's Gramercy Park Hotel, Julian Schnabel ( Hello, can we say that is a giant Studio 54 connection going on there...Schrager, Schnabel, Basquiat, Bowie, Hopper!)!  If you are already fascinated with the NY art scene in the late 70's/early 80's then you will LOVE this film, actually you will have probably already seen it...

Wyclef Jean and the amazing Mary J Blige;)

Pras and fellow Haitian artist, Wyclf Jean with the incomparable Lauren Hill in the legendary, multi-Grammy winning Fugees, this video was actually filmed in Haiti...although it looks just like the country parts of Jamaica to me...which is my favorite place in the great JA;)  More about that later.

"Fu-Gee-La" is the first single from the Fugees' second album, The Score. The song, which was produced by Salaam Remi, contains a sample of "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right" by Ramsey Lewis, and its chorus is based on "Ooh La La La" by Teena Marie. Several remixes of the song (the "Refugee Camp Remix" and the "Sly & Robbie Remix") also appear on The Score. It is the highest-selling single from the Fugees, and has been certified gold by RIAA.

I hope you enjoyed my little review, let's keep Haiti in our thoughts and prayers, this is not going to be a quick fix.

A very special thank you to both Gwen of Ragland Social Hill and Deb of Dumbwit Teller (two great blogs...all the more flattering!).  They have both generously posted stories featuring Doxa this week.   Please take a moment to visit their blogs, if you have not already, you will not be disappointed!

Peace Out.


Francine Gardner said...

I have always loved his work, so much energy and talent in such a short lived life.
It was so generous of Deb of Dumwit Teller to associate us in such a wonderful, touching post...


I have always admired the people who takes the time to support others in need. This is the most human post I have read in the last few days.

Very admirable your compromise with Haiti.

God Bless!

Viera said...

We all need to open our treasures and heart .

Cristin said...

Beautiful post! My prayers are focused on these people. May God bless them.


Cristin said...

Oh, just included your Fretwork Garden Stool in my latest post.


The Neo-Traditionalist said...

Wonderful post---love Basquiat's work. When I lived in Lugano, Switzerland there was a spectacular exhibit of his---I'd never seen so much of his work in one museum---truly phenomenal. Oh and love that you too lived in the East Village. I was on Ave A and East 3rd last year...sigh.
XX Kate

SogniSorrisi said...

What a great post. I have always loved Basquiat's work (and the Fugees) but I didn't realize he was Haitian.


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