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Wednesday - 11/11/15 
6:00pm - 8:00pm
General Motors Theater

Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Stephanie James and Bill Harris

Reflections on the Life and Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat

This event is in partnership with the DIA and the 30 Americans. One Nation.Thirty Experiences exhibition. 

About the Film:


Centered on a rare interview that director and friend Tamra Davis shot with Basquiat over twenty years ago, this definitive documentary chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the young artist. In the crime-ridden NYC 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. In 1985 he and Andy Warhol become close friends and painting collaborators, but they part ways and Warhol dies suddenly in 1987. Basquiat’s heroin addiction worsens, and he dies of an overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. The artist was 25 years old at the height of his career, and today his canvases sell for more than a million dollars. With compassion and psychological insight, Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent whose fortunes mirrored the rollercoaster 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.

About the Speakers:

Stephanie James is a curator of modern and contemporary art, with a focus on art of the African Diaspora. She is the Curator and Collection Educator for the Mott-Warsh Collection—a private collection based in Flint, Michigan. She was assistant curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She contracted with Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture for 4 years and served as Assistant Curator and Collection Educator at Mott-Walsh Collection for nearly three years. Ms. James held the position of Assistant Curator at the GM Center of African American for seven years after serving as an Assistant Educator at the Detroit Institute of Art for five years. Ms. James has organized numerous exhibitions and educational programs, and has authored essays on American artists.


Bill Harris is an Emeritus Professor of English at Wayne State University. He received the Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award for 2011.  He is a playwright, poet, and arts critic.  He formerly served as artistic coordinator for JazzMobile, and the New Federal Theatre in New York.  His plays have been produced nationwide, and he has published books of plays, poetry, and reappraisals American history.  Booker T. & Them: A Blues is his latest publication.


Suggested Reading and Links

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Jean-Michel Basquiat (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ miˈʃɛl baskija]; December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist, musician, and producer ...

Jean-Michel Basquiat - 66 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy
Jean-Michel Basquiat - Painter -
Jean-Michel Basquiat - The Art Story
Jean-Michel Basquiat | Vanity Fair



Stephanie James

Contact - Mott-Warsh Collection
Mott-Warsh Collection 111 E. Court St. Suite 2C Flint, MI, 48502 810.767.3989 phone / 810.767.1207 fax. Curator / Collection Educator Stephanie James

Curator's Choice: Stephanie James - Detroit Institute of Arts





Bill Harris
Bill Harris
Poet and playwright Bill Harris is named 2011 Kresge ...
Art X artist spotlight: Bill Harris | Detroit Free Press |
Bill Harris | 2015 - Art X Detroit
Literary star Bill Harris named 2011 Kresge Eminent Artist ...
2013 State of the Book Presenter: Bill Harris | Fiction Writers ...
Wayne State University professor Bill Harris named 2011 ...
A Play by Bill Harris | Detroit Artists Workshop
Bill Harris - Huffington Post
Detroit poet & playwright Bill Harris... - BLAC Detroit Magazine