Nora Quintanilla / New York / Jean-Michel Basquiat’s unfiltered take on the 1983 death in police custody of African American graffiti artist Michael Stewart is the keystone of a new exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
Basquiat (1960-1988) painted The Death of Michael Stewart – also known as Defacement – on a wall of the studio of his friend and fellow artist Keith Haring.
Thirty-six years later, a piece never meant to be publicly shown, much less offered for sale, will go on display Friday in the exhibit Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story, which includes newspaper clippings about Stewart’s death and related works by other artists.
Stewart, 25, who danced in a Madonna music video, was detained by New York City Transit Police at 2.50 am on Sept. 15, 1983, after allegedly spraying graffiti on a wall inside a subway station.
By the time police brought him to Bellevue Hospital at 3.22 am for “psychiatric observation,” Stewart was comatose. He died 13 days later.
The event traumatized many people in the New York art and cultural community, including Haring, Andy Warhol and George Condo, but held a special significance for Basquiat as the then-23-year-old son of a Haitian immigrant.
“I think when you look at his works that deal with black tragedy and you look at this (Defaced), they are very different. We’ll never know how it was created but he was in Keith Haring’s studio and they were having a really heartfelt conversation and I think the honesty came out in the wall,” the exhibition’s curator, Chaedria LaBouvier, told EFE.
Basquiat painted a dark figure being attacked by two cops. Above the scene, he scrawled the word “defacement,” the common law enforcement term for graffiti, amid question marks.
“It really challenges the idea that Michael Stewart was a graffiti artist. He knew all of these artists, people who were not painters, he was in Madonna’s video,” LaBouvier said. “I think he thought of himself as an artist, might think that the community considered him as an artist and we really need to think of him as an artist instead of this person that this happened to.”
She pointed to a fundamental contrast between The Death of Michael Stewart and other works by Basquiat.
“It’s by what’s not in the work. You look at the other paintings like Tuxedo, which is this monument to majesty and achievement and, you know, it’s a great time in his life, it’s devoid of that,” the curator said. (June 20, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
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Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas (Read the news and answer the questions)
de una muestra sobre cómo la muerte de Stewart marcó la obra de Basquiat.
de la vida de un bailarín que trabajó con Madonna.
de cuáles son las principales obras de Basquiat.
la muerte de Stewart no causó indignación entre la población.
la muerte de Stewart dejó huella en la obra de Basquiat.
se desmiente que Stewart muriera después de haber estado en coma.
Basquiat no llegó a realizar ninguna obra que estuviera relacionada con él.
Basquiat nunca creyó que a él también le podía haber sucedido lo mismo.
su muerte fue plasmada en una obra de Basquiat.
la comisaria espera que esta muestra genere algún cambio en la sociedad.
esta muestra podrá verse solo durante este verano.
los expertos saben perfectamente cómo Basquiat realizó 'Defacement'.
a la ciudad de Nueva York.
a una fruta de gran tamaño.
a la capital de Estados Unidos.
tratas de averiguar algo.
sabes perfectamente algo que ocurrió.
no quieres saber nada sobre algo.
'en algunas ocasiones'.
la mujer de un comisario.
la persona que está al cargo de organizar una exposición.
una persona que trabaja en una comisaría de policía.