Programmed by Lysa Heurtier Manzanares
Sara Driver explores the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and tectonically shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and ’80s shaped his vision.
Sara Driver, the director, was part of the same underground art movement as Jean-Michel Basquiat. Five year his elder, she hung out in the same places with the same people who marked the era. More than a portrait of the artist’s youth, Driver depicts an electrified period that was breaking away from institutional art and taking root in the punk movement. These graffiti artists, musicians, painters, filmmakers and so on from the deprived neighbourhoods of South Manhattan, crashing at each other’s places, most of them homeless party-lovers like Basquiat, didn’t seek recognition in the art world – they were art… “Be the art world”… In this collective fresco, Basquiat is the strange teenager who astounds all his elders and becomes the pride and joy of this world of outsiders, especially the Black community, when his career takes off in 1981.
Lysa Heurtier Manzanares