Sunday, February 23, 2020

Crossing Lines

Our friend in the country, once a resident of Hackney in London, made the long journey to Melbourne to meet us for lunch and see the exhibition Crossing Lines, with the works of muralist Keith Haring and street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Haring died from AIDS at the age of 31 in 1990, Basquiat in 1988 from a drug overdose at the age of 27, joining the 27 Club, as our friend pointed out to us. I wasn't aware of the 27 Club, so this is quite interesting to me.

While statistics disprove the popular view that so many talented people died at the age 27, here is an incomplete list: Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jonathan Brandis, Amy Winehouse and of course Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Both are really interesting characters, with Haring born in Reading, Pennsylvania and Basquiat in Brooklyn. At some point the gay Haring and the sexually ambiguous Basquiat, though his relationships were with women, met and became friends. Basquiat sold his first work to singer Deborah Harry for $200. A few months later his works were selling for $20,000 each. I think the year was 2017 when one of his works sold for US $110 million. The more Warhol like pop artist Haring became a social justice and AIDS, and safe sex campaigner and artist. There is a large mural painted by Haring here in Melbourne, restored in 2013 I think, and he also painted a mural for a hoarding as the water wall at the Art Gallery was replaced.

We trammed to the National Gallery of Victoria after a pleasant lunch in the city. Although not far, we wanted to save our legs for the exhibition. $30 full admittance for me and old persons discount of $25 for R and our friend.

It was the best exhibition I have seen for years. In the background was music by artists of the 1980s, such as Madonna and Deborah Harry. I think the curation was brilliant and credit to curators Dieter Buchhart and Anna Karina Hofbauer, along with the gallery's senior curator Miranda Wallace.


Nothing to do with anything but before we entered the exhibition. I don't know what it is about and I am not really interested. Maybe you are.



A few snaps of some works that appealed to me. There is anger and a rawness in Basquiat's works and that never changed. I actually preferred his art as there was much more to see and wonder about in his creations.



As his fame grew, Haring's works became much more sophisticated.






Just when I started to wonder how many rooms of works there would be, we were in a room full of celebrity type photos by French born artist, fashion designer and film producer Maripol with many featuring either or both artists. I know nothing of her, but I loved her photographs. After that interlude, I was happy to see more Haring's and Basquiat's works.



There weren't too many more before we entered an exit via the gift shop passage featuring huge over life sized photos, also cleverly reflected behind glass on the opposite wall.


Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Haring.


Both with a person unknown.




I so do at times research for some posts. I put a good bit of work into this one, whether it is of interest or not. Basquiat looks rather attractive in the these photos above, but I saw one of him taken not long before he accidentally overdosed and he did not look good. His looks were fucked by drugs and hard living before he died at such a young age.

26 comments:

  1. So many artists become drug addicts because they want to escape from reality. A lot of them find real life boring or painful, so they escape by doing drugs. Such a pity.

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    1. Gigi, and that is when they create their best art.

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  2. I wish I knew why so many artists die early. Often mired in poverty and despair. And then are 'discovered' and their works sell for millions.
    Thanks Andrew, this looks like an exhibition I would have very happily have gone too.
    Did you all escape the gift shop lure?

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    1. We escaped the gift shop lure, but our friend from the country did not, with her book in a very nice brag bag from the NGV.

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  3. Andy Warhol was also gay, though he was never as forthcoming as was Haring. A good percentage of males in the art world are gay, and if one happens to be straight and wants to be a part of that world, then one needs to become tolerant quickly. Same holds through for show biz.

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    1. Kirk, it was quite obvious about Warhol, whether he mentioned it or not. Quite so about the world of art and showbiz. In my own family I have seen the tolerance level change.

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  4. Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Jean-Michel Basquiat *sigh*. And remember Cecilia? I couldn't tolerate Kurt Cobain and I didn't know Jonathan Brandis, but what terrible losses.

    Well done, NGV.

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    1. Hels, I don't remember Cecillia at all? Brandis was a boy actor I think.

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  5. I am ignorant of modern artists and ashamed of it. Thanks for sharing this information. I must off to an art gallery again soon.

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    1. Diane, I am not keen on modern art and so often just shake my head at it, but this was meaning stuff.

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  6. That is art? Sorry, Art with the capital A.
    That first piece, Carbon Footprints? Death of a Clown. No more jokes ever because of PC taking over?
    I think I'm happier being ignorant of the Art Scene.

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    1. It is quite political stuff, I suppose. I know what you are saying and I will no longer pretend to admire blotches of paint. But truly, the exhibition was good.

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  7. I find artist in all types interesting and what makes them tick.

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    1. Dora, indeed, what makes them tick, or not at a young age.

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  8. I enjoyed your sharing of this exhibition, I was aware of the 27 club, there is also an issue of underlying schizophrenia I believe as many (famous or not) at that age, mainly male. I was told this by a woman who had lost her son to suicide from this condition. 27.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Statistics indicate only a minor blip at 27. There are earlier blips and later blips and none are very significant.

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  9. I find Basquiat much more interesting than Haring. End.

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    1. As do I Cro, but perhaps for the same and different reasons.

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  10. Thanks Andrew, lots of interesting information! I would have enjoyed this exhibition very much also. I love our Art Gallery but we often miss out on the big exhibitions because we are so isolated. I was so disappointed when the Picasso exhibition didn't come here!

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    1. Maybe it is a Melbourne thing. Our friend in Sydney often comes to Melbourne for the day to see performances or exhibitions here. Perhaps we really work hard to make these happen.

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  11. Is it art? Did it make you feel, think, question? If so, it is art. I wish I was close enough to go see this, thank you for sharing.

    The sculpture, looks like death of the clowns.

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    1. Travel, I have a decreasing tolerance for what might be called modern art of late and simply can't be bothered with it, however, in this case, I think it really is art and I appreciated it as such.

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  12. This is definitely an exhibit I would love!

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    1. Jackie, pretty inspired to combine the two, I thought.

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  13. Looks good. Hopefully I'm visiting Melbourne in the next month or so, so will add to my list.

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    1. Well worth the price and effort, James.

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