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Boom for real: the late teenage years of Jean-Michel Basquiat – with Q&A Suzanne Bisset, Joe Rush, MC Llamas, Kira-Marina Von Bismarck, Stik

October 5, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

£4 – £8

A poet, musician and graffiti prodigy, Jean-Michel Basquiat remains one of the most prominent and original artist of the 7os American art scene, playing a major role into the Punk Art and Neo-Expressionism movements. Born in Brooklyn to a Puerto Rican mother and a Haitian father, Basquiat is seen as the product of the hyped 1980s and his work continue to serve for many observers as a metaphor for the dangers of artistic and social excess. He went from sleeping on benches to collaborating with Andy Warhol before dying aged 27 from his heroin addiction, all the while becoming one of the most bankable artist on the contemporary art market. Like a superhero of a graphic novel, Basquiat seemed to rocket to fame and riches, and then, just as speedily, fall back to Earth, the victim of drug abuse and eventual overdose.

American filmmaker Sara Driver’s exploration of the pre-fame years of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat offers a window into his life and the City of New York, 1978-81, illustrating how the city, the times and the people around him informed the artist he became and shaped his vision.

A fresh perspective on the movements that touched and inspired him, as well as the influence a bankrupt, violent city had on this seminal artist, the film shows how Basquiat has become, over the years, the ultimate representation of this period, fed by its politics, the rise of both hip-hop and punk rock, race issues and the art scene itself.

In 1978, Jean-Michel was a teenager (18 years old), living on the street and sleeping on friends’ sofas in the East Village. He was shaped and formed by his friendships — those he influenced and those who influenced him. The crumbling City allowed them the freedom to discover and experiment with their work.

Bruton Art Factory Director, Suzanne Bisset will introduce the film and chair a panel including sculptor Joe Rush, artist MC Llamas, collector Kira-Marina Von Bismarck and street artist Stik.

Suzanne Bisset opened her first gallery in Dublin age 19 and curated shows for U2 in their recording studio. In the 90’s she was a journalist and Creative Director on projects with the KLF and many bands. She famously curated a show for Bob Dylan with Patti Smith and Tracey Emin. In the year 1999 she joined Dazed & Confused magazine working closely with Rankin and touring shows around the world. She launched an agency in Shoreditch with the majority of London Artist A listers on her books. In 2015 Suzanne launched the Bruton Art Factory an experimental art space in the middle of the Somerset countryside which goes from strength to strength showing high profile artists and creatives. It gets huge attention from the media despite not doing any official press apart from the local regional tabloid.

Joe Rush is a Bristish sculptor born in London. Influenced by the film Mad Max and Judge Dredd comics, he is the founder of Mutoid Waste Company, a performance arts collective of artists.

MC Llamas is a French artist based in London. The artist typically creates small scale fictional portraits using a combination of marker pen, chalk and charcoal on gridded paper. The subjects are remembered art world people that Llamas knows or has met during her ‘going outs’ in London.

Kira-Marina Von Bismarck is an art collector and runs her mother’s Art foundation for music and culture called the Prinzessin Kira von Preussen-Stiftung.

Stik is a British graffiti artist based in London, known for painting large stick figures around London. Stik started painting unofficial, socially conscious murals in his hometown of Hackney, East London in 2001. His simple stick figures wordlessly tell the story of his community and he frequently collaborates with hospitals, charities and homeless organisations. Working from his East London studio, these projects are largely self-funded and he now creates monumental artworks with communities across the world.


Our thanks to Hauser & Wirth Somerset for supporting this film event.

Roth Bar & Grill will open from 6pm for drinks and dinner. Please note, advanced booking for dinner is recommended to avoid disappointment for each event.

 Director: Sara Driver
Running time: 1h18
Rating: 15





Hauser and Wirth Somerset
Dropping Ln
Bruton, Somerset BA10 0NL United Kingdom
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