Tamara Davis’s documentary about Jean-Michel Basquiat is getting a fair amount of attention in the art world. The Wall Street Journal talks to the director who made the movie on her own terms trading in a studio production team for “a girl, a camera and a computer.” Davis was friends with Basquiat 25 years ago and did some interviews with him then:
When Mr. Basquiat died three years later, Ms. Davis put the footage in a drawer. “Of course, I was being emotional,” she said. “Are you really going to go work on a movie about a friend who’s dead? I saw him really close to when he died and one of the things that really upset him was that friends he’d given gifts to—paintings, whatever—sold them. The footage was such a gift. I didn’t want him to think, even in death, that I would try to profit from it.” Ms. Davis retrieved the tape in 2005, however, when she edited a 20-minute version to screen during a Basquiat retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art.That was the beginning of “The Radiant Child,” which features that interview—one of the few Mr. Basquiat ever sat for—along with more recent conversations with an array of the artist’s contemporaries, including Fab Five Freddy, Glenn O’Brien, Thurston Moore, Annina Nosei and former girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk.
Untangling the Myth of Basquiat (Wall Street Journal)