A Critical Reader
Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
The Writing on the Wall: The Life and Passion of Jean-Michel Basquiat
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The Writing on the Wall
The Life and Passion of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Es más dificil ser rey sin corona. (It’s harder to be king without a crown.)1
In New York City, the 1970–1980 decade gave way to a multi-ethnic, queer-inflected urban culture that spurred new forms in music, the visual arts, and dance. In the words of curator Jeffrey Deitch, it “was an era of greater sexual openness to different cultures, and interchange between races.”2 Though fueled to a great extent by blacks and Latinos, it was white artists like Keith Haring and Madonna who mostly injected this fusion into the main cultural bloodstream. Yet few figures from this—or indeed any other time—most fully embody the torment and triumph of the commodification of New York’s emergent cultures than the Brooklyn-born son of a Haitian accountant and a Puerto Rican art lover: the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.
As with hip-hop culture in general (to which he had an ambivalent relationship), Basquiat has been studied primarily as an African American artist. Called the integrator of “African-American culture,”3 and “the most financially successful Black visual artist in history,”4 the majority of critics who have to date written on Basquiat generally ignore the potential significance of his Caribbean roots to his production and construction of his star persona. Equally perplexing, Puerto Rican and other Latino critics...
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