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Basquiat - 1996 poster

Basquiat - 1996

Andy Warhol was a phenomenon who warrants a lot of explaining: a completely colorless mega-star celebrity, and a kind of LaBrea Tarpit for a vivid and talented collection of oddballs in the New York scene. He fostered their continued degeneration into weird lifestyles and heavy drug use; and at the same time acted as their mentor, agent, and sponsor. One artist who came to be part of Warhol's "scene" was Jean Michel Basquiat, an antisocial street-bum who went from writing graffiti on alley walls to being the toast of New York City's art world. This film biography chronicles the progression of Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright) and his progression from living in cardboard boxes to penthouses, his romances, his drug use, and his death in 1988 at age 27. Along the way, he never stopped detesting the rich, including art agent Bruno Bischofberger (Dennis Hopper), and he never lost his naivete. Warhol (David Bowie) picks up some of the pieces as Basquiat lurches through the art scene. Cameo appearances by Tatum O'Neal and Courtney Love add spice to this interesting film.