Michael Stuart, Michael Stewart, Bosque discussed on Weekend Edition Saturday
Morning. I'm david. I a new exhibit at the Guggenheim museum focuses on one painting by Jean Michel Basquiat, and how the subject of the painting is crucial to understanding him as an artist making work in New York City in the nineteen eighty s the show was called Basquiat defacement, the untold story and WNYC's Richard Hake spoke to WNYC's art critic, Deborah Solomon about it. So Deborah, the work at the center of this show is called the death of Michael Stewart. Tell us about Michael Stuart, and what happened to the story of Michael Stuart is a sad one. He was annoyed as living in New York City in nineteen eighty three when he went down into a subway and drew some. Graffiti on a wall supposedly he was arrested by police and beaten by the transit police ended up in a coma and died thirteen days later, and because he was an order, just the news, spread like wildfire among New York's art community which responded with a variety of images that were meant to incite protests. Also mourn, his death. So how did Bosque out respond? He responded with a painting that is known as defacement, and I have to say judge in purely artistic terms. It's not one of his greatest works, but it's a fascinating piece of social history. He painted on the wall of his friend, Keith haring, who was also graffiti artists, and in a sense. Right. Exactly. They were pals and shortly after Michael Stewart's death Bosque ought when he was visiting Keith haring painted this image of a black ghost, like central figure surrounded. By two cops who are, in fact, clubbing him and later after Bosque outs death, Keith haring cut. The painting out of the oil, and had it framed. Wow. So Bosca never intended to show it, he didn't painted on campus. It's painted on board. And it has now come into the discussion of his work because of the subject, meaning he's protesting police brutality and question is should that be seen as a major theme of his work? And there are several other Basquiat paintings in the show, how they tie in with his painting of Michael store, loosely. But interestingly, he painted images of policemen as mostly monstrous figures, in nineteen eighty one and nineteen eighty two before the Michael Stuart incident took place, the show wants to uncover a fresh view of Bosca as somebody who was concerned about police brutality and traditionally, that is not the way he's been viewed, he's an artist who came of age in the early eighties, when the art scene suddenly went expressionist stick, and figurative after a decade of minimalism. Right. So in the seventies, we have all these spare tilting cubes on street corners. And then suddenly in the eighties, we have Neo expressionism and basket often presented as new. Oh, expressionist whose work relates to John do buffet and or fruit Antoine belly and western art. So he's been looked at in the context of art history. This show tries to take him out of that context slightly to show how he was an artist who was exploring of sense of black density and his work. It might seem obvious, but no show has grappled with that idea before, and this show also presents works other artists here in New York City at the time who also reacted to Stewart's death, right? Yes. There are about twenty works in the show. It's small it's concentrated and some of the other works are posters. Flyers the materials of political activism and show does give you a sense of a community coming together community of artists trying to bring attention to the tragic death of Michael Stuart, and it's very moving, I think, to remember this moment on the Lower East Side. So you say it's a small show, but it sounds like it's an oppressive. Yes. I think this is a very important show removes Bosque out from the context created by a generation of white art historians who saw him primarily as an artist who revived figuration in the early eighties. But his relationship was not only to art histories past. It was also to black culture in the early eighties and the issues of police brutality and feelings of oppression. And this is the first show to look at his work in that context. And, and maybe the context was always obvious to black viewers, but I don't think white viewers have been asked to think about it before. So in that way, it's very much a show for these revisionist times. I think we're still trying to figure out who Bosque was Busk yachts, defacement, the untold story runs through November six Guggenheim. Deborah Solomon is WNYC's art critic Debra, thank you so much. Thank you. Richard..