i know nothing

Last month I went to an art show that knocked my socks off.

What I saw was the work of Jean Michel Basquiat (at the AGO), where close to 85 large-scale paintings and drawings from private collections and public museums were exhibited.

basquiat AGO art sociopolitical  clear true message Every piece in the exhibit expressed a clear and precise message; true, honest and unselfconscious. This is art with purpose, created by a man dis-empowered by the socio-political climate of early 1980s New York. This is art created in a world I know nothing about (a world I can not even imagine) yet I found myself overwhelmed.

I have no idea the true meaning of any of the work I saw at the Jean-Michel Basquiat art exhibit;  I have no idea the true life experience or challenges of the artist. 

But despite this, there was something about the work (remnants of the artist’s angst & struggle?) that grabbed hold of me and shook me up. It knocked my socks off and I don’t know why.

I go over and over the physical characteristics of the paintings in the exhibit that would explain why I was so affected by them (i.e. the seemingly effortless talent of the artist, pleasing rudimentary imagery, colour, &tc) but that doesn’t explain the wallop of emotion every painting rained down on me as I moved through the gallery. I am stunned, still (one month later) and wondering at the power of this art.

Have you seen this (or similar) work? Tell me what you saw; tell me what you know.





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