Directed by Tamra Davis • Documentary • With Jean-Michel Basquiat • 2010 • 88 minutes
Centered on a rare interview that director and friend Tamra Davis shot with Jean-Michel Basquiat more than 20 years ago, this film chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the young artist. In the crime-ridden New York City of the 1970s, he covers the city with the graffiti tag ‘SAMO.’ In 1981 he puts paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he is an artist with “rock star status.” He achieves critical and commercial success, though he is constantly confronted by racism from his peers.
The artist was 25 years old at the height of his career, and today his canvases sell for more than a million dollars. With the intimacy only a close friend could have, Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent whose fortunes mirrored the roller-coaster quality of the downtown scene he seemed to embody.
Featuring interviews with Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Glenn O’Brien, Maripol, Kai Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffmann, Michael Holman, Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, Rene Ricard, Kenny Scharf, among many others.