The Radiant Child

For a brief time, Jean-Michel Basquiat had the art world under his spell, and this documentary records that.  The director Tamra Davis also captured Basquiat’s wit and vast wealth of knowledge that he left in his art for people to observe and take apart.

Before watching this, I mostly felt ambivalent towards Basquiat and his creative output.  After watching The Radiant Child and seeing quite possibly all of it, I modified these feelings.  I think where Basquiat’s talent shined the most came from his subjects’ faces.  I loved the way he used color and line to capture facial expressions.  He probably did a better job than Willem de Kooning when it came to rendering them.  Not to mention how he sometimes had his characters show their teeth.  It happened so frequently in Basquiat’s body of work, I wonder what made this expression so compelling to him.  Bared teeth can mean a lot of emotions from smiling happily to showing pain.  A complete contrast to how this movie often depicted the man as having this calm and serene personality and a slight smile.  Of course, he showed other emotions as his friends confirmed in various interviews.  On that aspect, probably the best interview came from Fab 5 Freddy.  He wove such a wonderful tale of New York life in the seventies and eighties.

I did have one problem with this documentary.  As I much as I enjoyed it, I wished somebody fixed the sound quality because I had a hard time hearing people talk.

ETA : Rewrote a word.

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