Basquiat in Studio

MAKE-ART-NOT-WAR to express the human experience seems timely with the Russian invasion into Ukraine, and in light of their cultural sites being bombed.

In 2020, The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) exhibited ‘Keith Haring/Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines’. The catalog (same name) is critiqued in this essay. Although Haring was not Black, he was stigmatized as a homosexual, and like Basquiat, died young. Both artists became famous by challenging the Western art canon and forcing it to envelop street artists, who were considered criminals, scribbling on vacant buildings and the tunnels and cars of public transportation. According to Jonathan Franklin, “Every February, the US honors the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have shaped the nation (NPR, Franklin, 2/1/22).” Black art/culture is finally being recognized for not only helping to narrate the American story, non-white artists (and all women) are finally being acknowledged for their aesthetic talents—albeit snail’s-pace! February’s Black History Month is over; however honoring non-white and all women artists should be ongoing.






Haring-Basquiat Cover


Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, 1983

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