PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Jan. 9, 2019 – Contemporary Art Toledo and Owens Community College are thrilled to present “Zeitgeist: The Art Scene of Teenage Basquiat,” Friday, Jan. 25 – Friday, March 22 in the Terhune Gallery at the Owens’ Center for Fine and Performing Arts. This extraordinary exhibition focuses on the creative community Jean-Michel Basquiat helped galvanize in gritty, pre-AIDS, downtown New York—a time when decay and dissolution fueled a boom in creativity and where the definition of fame, success and power was not based on money, Instagram likes or self-promotion.
Zeitgeist complements and amplifies the film by Sara Driver, “BOOM FOR REAL: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat” that was released from Magnolia Pictures in May 2018. Driver teamed with culture critic Carlo McCormick and Mary-Ann Monforton, associate publisher of BOMB Magazine, along with the New York gallery Howl! Happening to curate the expansive exhibition that features works by Basquiat himself and more than 30 friends and contemporaries, including Nan Goldin, Kenny Scharf, Al Diaz and Lee Quiñones.
A public reception for the exhibition will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 from 5-7 p.m. followed by a public screening of the film “BOOM FOR REAL: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat.” Special guest for both the reception and the film will be curator Carlo McCormick.
Known today for his outsized role in the rise of Neo Expressionism and recent record-breaking auction sales, the late Jean-Michel Basquiat was first recognized for his graffiti work in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the emerging artistic circles there, the focus was not on creating content the established art market could readily digest and profit from, but on creating a community that stood in opposition – fostering unfiltered, uninhibited expression.
Basquiat’s work illuminated the contradictions of society – its opposing realities, inequalities, injustices – through a mix of disparate artistic traditions and unrefined, raw emotion fueled by the punk and hip-hop movements of the time. In only a few years, he went from supporting himself through panhandling and selling painted T-shirts and postcards while homeless, to being one of the most celebrated artists in New York, bringing the street level politics of what was an underground counter-culture collective with him into the spotlight.
Zeitgeist offers a unique opportunity to revisit the explosive, pre-fame period of Basquiat and his contemporaries. For these creators, to be a penniless published poet or a musician gigging at a local club was the height of success. In the rawness of the work, the focus on street art and graffiti, and the experimentation and cross-pollination of styles and disciplines, the era has become a flash point for younger generations seeking to learn about and understand the authenticity, closeness, and community expressed in the work of the artists in this truly unique exhibition.
Featured artists and friends in both the film and exhibition include Alexis Adler, Charlie Ahearn, Ted Barron, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Carrithers, Henry Chalfant, Brett De Palma, Al Diaz, Barbara Ess, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Robert Goldman aka Bobby G. Godlis, Nan Goldin, Michael Holman, Becky Howland, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Jim Jarmusch, Justen, Ladda, Ann Messner, Mary-Ann Monforton, James Nares, Glenn O’Brien, Franc Palaia, Lee Quiñones, Walter Robinson, Christy Rupp, Luc Sante, Kenny Scharf, Paul Tschinkel, Robin Winters and Bob Gruen.
For more information, please visit www.owens.edu/fpa/terhune or call Paula Baldoni, River House Arts, at (419) 494-6536.