Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child | Chicago Reader

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Tamra Davis’s documentary on the first African-American to become an international art star centers on interview footage she shot of him in the 80s, around which she weaves the narrative of Basquiat’s life without offering much insight into his art. A teenage runaway, he was a homeless graffiti artist in Manhattan in his late teens, but after a few years his lively and energetic compositions attracted the attention of the art world. His ascent was rapid, and he and Andy Warhol became best friends, and did a show together. In the interview, a charmingly self-effacing Basquiat displays a winning smile; perhaps no one could explain what drove him, or his 1988 death from a heroin overdose at 27, but we do learn of his alienation from his family.



  • Tamra Davis


  • Lilly Bright
  • Stanley Buchthal
  • David Koh
  • Alexis Spraic

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