Adam Lindemann is careful not to name the members of the Basquiat cartel in the New York Observer but he doesn’t have kind words for them. Can you guess who he means?
The Basquiat “cartel,” a loose-knit network of dealers and collectors, most of whom were there for Art Basel and who own many of the works, began to trash the show immediately. The dis: It was “overhung” and didn’t properly represent the hierarchy of the great works (theirs) as compared to the not-so-great works (everybody else’s).
In the Swiss manner, the curators had precisely selected, ordered and categorized the works by year, size and medium, and had put all the works on paper together. So it was perhaps a bit overhung, too packed, and somehow the pristine white walls of Renzo Piano perfection were struggling with the colorful, dark, sometimes violent paintings.
Spotting Francesco Clemente at the private opening, I asked him whether he liked the show and whether seeing the retrospective of an artist he knew so well made him sad. He said he was melancholy in his reminiscence but that he actually liked the overhanging and wished, if anything, that the show had been more chaotic-more like the man himself, less “Picasso-esque.” Basquiat’s short life was chaotic and wild, itself a creative performance, and his works were a part of all that. But this blockbuster show was a big move for the Beyeler, and I decided to enjoy it rather than find fault, since I probably will never see a better one.
The Grand Tourist (NY Observer)