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Widow Basquiat ➠ Widow Basquiat Ebook ➦ Author Jennifer Clement – The beautifully written deeply affecting story of Jean Michel Basuiat's partner her past and their life together New York City in the 1980s was a mesmerizing wild place A hotbed for hip hop undergroun The beautifully written deeply affecting story of Jean Michel Basuiat's partner her past and their life together New York City in the s was a mesmerizing wild place A hotbed for hip hop underground culture and unmatched creative energy it spawned some of the most significant art of the th century It was where Jean Michel Basuiat became an avant garde street artist and painter swiftly achieving worldwide fame During the years before his death at the age of he shared his life with his lover and muse Suzanne Mallouk A runaway from an unhappy home in Canada Suzanne first met Jean Michel in a bar on the Lower East Side in Thus began a tumultuous and passionate relationship that deeply influenced one of the most exceptional artists of our time In emotionally resonant prose award winning author Jennifer Clement tells the story of the passion that swept Suzanne and Jean Michel into a short lived unforgettable affair A poetic interpretation like no other Widow Basuiat is an expression of the unrelenting power of addiction obsession and love.

10 thoughts on “Widow Basquiat

  1. Barry Pierce Barry Pierce says:

    Artists' biographies are usually some of the most boring books you will ever read I know this having spent three years powering through them at university The artist is born usually into a wealthy family and they then go to an art college or an academy where they learn nothing and develop their own style as a rejection to everything they have been taught Then they become famous and die There it is every artists' biography everJennifer Clement rejects this formula Instead of writing a straightforward biography of her friend Jean Michel Basuiat she writes about the woman who was constantly at his side Suzanne Mallouk Widow Basuiat is a fiery journey through the 1980s New York art scene It is the story of Suzanne's life but also of course the life of Basuiat It moves along at a blistering pace as we switch between Clement's narrative and Mallouk's first hand accountsThe most refreshing aspect of Widow Basuiat was its effort to not become hagiographic Clement and Mallouk never once place Basuiat on a high pedestal He was a controlling and unstable drug addict He treated his closest friends awfully He gave Mallouk PID which caused her to become sterile for life But he was also a genius who had the art market in his hands He was insecure and always thought about his image The flamboyant Basuiat is also shown how he would wear Armani suits when he painted and then would throw them away and his insistence in his final years to travel everywhere by limousine Mallouk puts up with all of these uirks and in the end Widow Basuiat becomes an intimate but riotous portrayal of a turbulent relationship It is one of the most well constructed and enjoyable artists' biographies that I have ever read As mesmerising and complex as any of Basuiat's works

  2. Rowena Rowena says:

    He smells of leather oil paint tobacco marijuana and the faint metallic smell of cocaine He wears handmade wool sweaters and long Mexican ponchos He never walks in a straight line He zigzags wherever he is going Jennifer Clement Widow Basuiat The 1980s in New York were some interesting times and Basuiat had maybe one of the most colourful lives I've ever read about shopping with Madonna hanging out with Gene Kelly and Andy Warhol selling paintings to Debbie HarryWidow Basuiat is a very unconventional love story then again Basuiat from what I've learned about him epitomized unconventionalityThe widow in this case is Basuiat's great love Suzanne Mallouk and the book goes into the strange uniue often abusive relationship they had Suzanne seems to have been Basuiat's muse and perhaps one of the few people who got closest to really knowing him We get a sense of who Basuiat was through his widow's short reminiscent vignettesI guess from my vantage point where I'm exposed to black art and have some knowledge of black artists it might be easy to forget that black artists were rarely accepted in the mainstream very white art world not so long ago and there are obviously still structural barriers One line regarding representation said by Basuiat himself really spoke to me This is why I paint he saysTo get black men into museums A lot of this book goes into the issues Basuiat experienced with racism in the art world There is talk on the double standards of white versus black artists for example He is furious because people are writing about his ghetto childhood and call him a 'graffiti artist' and 'primitive' They don't event a childhood for white artists he says I could see his internal struggle on one hand he was trying to make black art mainstream and respected on another hand not wanting to accept labels But he always remembered his past and his influences His paintings were inspired by the jazz musicians and he felt akin to them A lot of the early jazz artists of course couldn't even walk through the front door of the hotels and clubs they were playing in and had to enter through back doors and kitchens and I think Jean felt this was a metaphor for his place in the white art world he had entered through the back door He broke into the white art world in a way that had never been done before by a blackThis is a very intense book it really is I'm not used to reading books that are very heavy on drug content and self destruction and despite already knowing the outcome to Basuiat's story it was really a tough story to wrap one's head around My heart especially went out to Suzanne and what she was forced to go through What I got from this book is what I already knew and then some; Basuiat was a multifaceted complex spirit This book didn't try to make excuses for him it just stated the facts Definitely a must read for any Basuiat fansHere's a link to the documentary The Radiant Child

  3. Lynx Lynx says:

    Wow this book totally blew me awayAt the young age of 15 Suzanne Mallouk left her family and home in Canada for the bright lights and gritty streets of NYC It wasn't long before she became lover and muse to the wonderfully talented Jean Michel Basuiat who was on the verge of blowing the art world away Their turbulent passionate and ultimately doomed love affair was on again off again for the next 8 years from his rise to art world acclaim and deep into his downward spiral with drugs and depressionApart from her relationship to Basuiat Mallouk's own story is one worthy of being read With heartbreaking honesty she shares with us both her own personal demons as well as intimate moments spent with Basuiat the good the bad and indeed the uglyShifting back and forth between Jennifer Clement's stunningly beautiful prose and Suzanne Mallouk's own words I felt the real world drift further and further away with each page I devoured until I was fully immersed into 1980's NYC Such glorious lyrical storytelling I haven't experienced since reading Patti Smith's Just Kids A must read for anyone interested in 1980's New York the art world or those who just love gorgeous prose

  4. Meike Meike says:

    Jean Michel Basuiat is one of those artists who tend to vanish behind their own larger than life myth The free spirited flamboyant genius who lived fast and died young Jennifer Clement works against this distorting narrative and she knows what she's talking about Not only did she know Basuiat his girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk has been a friend of hers Basuiat's Self Portrait with Suzanne 1982Widow Basuiat is a mixture of longer uotes taken from interviews Clement conducted with Mallouk and episodes written in the third person that the author renders in her typical poetic style The result is a very moving text that portrays the complex relationship between Mallouk and Basuiat and thus allows glimpses into the contradictory character that was Jean Michel Basuiat We meet two people who deeply love each other but who are also two junkies in a toxic relationship and the whole story unfolds during Basuiat's steep rise to the very top of the international art scene and lasts in all its glorious and often not so glorious turbulence until his death of a heroin overdose in 1988 In many flashlights and vignettes Clement focuses on aspects of Basuiat's character and his relationship with Suzanne The first person to buy a Basuiat was Debbie Harry later he dated Madonna nevermind he had a girlfriend He was friends with Andy Warhol Basuiat painted himself with Warhol in his famous piece Dos Cabezas and with Keith Haring He loved to go clubbing and went on drug binges for days He could be deeply affectionate and caring and then malicious and mischevous He had a fluid sexuality and was always promiscuous Basuiat loved the attention and also the money especially because he had done the seemingly impossible He was a black man whose work was admired in the white art world Behind all the fame and glamour he was an artist facing racism trying to be free and trying to change the world at least a little Basuiat who during his childhood in Brooklyn freuently visited art exhibitions with his mother said that he became a painter because he wanted to see works of black artists displayed in galleries and museums In the predominatly white cosmos of institutionalized and monetized art he freuently encountered racism and of course not only there but in America as a whole Clement's book mentions several instances and also talks about the death of Basuiat's fellow black artist Michael Stewart who became a victim of police brutality an incident that drove Basuiat to paint his most political piece Defacement But that's not his only picture giving social and historical commentary just think of paintings like Slave Auction or Obnoxious Liberals for instance Still until today some critics call his style primitivism a term used to discredit a black voice in art To describe Suzanne Mallouk's onoff relationship with Basuiat as rocky would be an understatement The two clashed freuently we're talking flying tv sets and major insults and at one point Basuiat apparently told her that he appreciated that she was the only one who didn't tell him to stop doing drugs go figure Today Dr Suzanne Mallouk works as a psychiatrist in New York specializing in the treatment of substance abuse and the late Basuiat has become one of the biggest cultural icons in the world And he continues to inspire other artists Not only did jazz musician Jon Batiste Stephen Colbert's band leader recently release an album entitled Hollywood Africans after Basuiat's painting of the same name Batiste is also working on a Broadway musical based on Basuiat's life the painter was a major jazz fan who often worked to music It seems like the definitive biography of Jean Michel Basuiat has yet to be written but Clement's love story which in other editions is subtitled a memoir is a fascinating beautifully written book that offers many interesting insights

  5. Heather Fineisen Heather Fineisen says:

    I love this book It is a poem It is about strength It is about feminism It is about marketing It is about politics It is about childhood And yes it's about an iconic artist and one of his lovers but it's really about so much if you choose to dig deep and see it This is not for everyone Some readers who like a straightforward narrative will most likely be discouraged with the mixed voices in this fictional biographymemoir of Basuiat and Suzanne Mallouk But I think Clement captures the voices with an authenticity and care that may be only attributed to her personal ties to Suzanne Mallouk the fictional widow Living a drug and sex fuelled life of chaos in the New York and International art scene the colorful characters come to life while we see the reality of AIDS and overdoses and other STDs at the edges of the frenetic lifestyles Jennifer Clement exposes the vulnerability of such large personalities without making them caricatures and you can see beauty in the tragedy I think of a flower growing out of a crack in a dirty and dilapidated sidewalk I finished it and just wanted to read it againProvided by Publisher

  6. Roman Clodia Roman Clodia says:

    An intense subjective look at a relationship that is toxic yet binding as Suzanne is drawn into the charismatic orbit of Jean Michel Basuiat against a background of the febrile 1980s New York art scene High on drugs radically creative Basuiat sees art as activism driven by his early realisation that there were no Black male artists in museums and how telling that it's only now forty years later in the wake of Black Lives Matter that this has become a public conversation with curators speaking out on this institutional bias and consciously looking to do better This isn't an analysis of the art confining itself to the push pull relationship between Suzanne and Jean the cruelty the rows the infidelities the way love can turn maternal on her side the final kind consideration on his before his untimely death from overdose at just 27 Clement knew them both and writes with a kind of burning power switching between a 3rd person narrative with the weaving in of Suzanne's voice from interviews? I listened to the audio book and the narrator's voice suits the narrative perfectlyA short book but powerful and intimate and surprisingly politicised in a welcome way

  7. Isaac Isaac says:

    I'm always suspicious of biographies of artists Where films are concerned there's the inevitable shaky camera scene when the artist begins to seriously lose it or ups the ante on his coke habit And regardless of the medium while mainstream auteurs tend to excuse the subject's deplorable personality for the sake of the opus there's a far widespread and disturbing habit of conflating one's understanding the life with an understanding of the work's function or relevance and you wind up with what I'll politely describe as a warped and insular critical feedback loop In other words garbage based on the story of I'd like to argue that this book performs a careful and thoughtful dance between a personality a relationship and the shockwaves of celebrity without indulging in a moral judgement It's a thoroughly satisfying uick read Clement pairs her beautiful brutal third person narrative with Suzanne's first hand account of her time as Basuiat's lover and chopped liver The poetry is as much in Clement's writing as it is in the contrast between the author's interpretation and her subject's reflectionsFor extra credit read this before watching Julian Schnabel's film Basuiat

  8. Vanessa Vanessa says:

    I wasn't that familiar with Jean Michel Basuiat and his art other than hearing his name mentioned in other non fiction books set around the same time period that he lived and worked The 60's 80's NYC art scene was the perfect setting for artist memoirs But this memoir isn't really his story but the story of his muse Suzanne Mallouk insteadThis particular memoir is interesting in the way it's constructed partly told through Mallouk's own words and partly told through Jennifer Clement's prose It was clear who was speaking by the use of differing fonts which was something that I welcomed and the chapters are short and punchy snapshots into Mallouk's life growing up moving to NYC meeting Jean Michel and the aftermath of his death by heroin overdoseThe memoir doesn't uite have the same depth as other memoirs of its ilk eg Just Kids as we are always somewhat removed from Mallouk This is not real time of a glimpse through a window at her we can look but can't connect However it still worked for me and I can see myself coming back to this potentially reading it in one setting to fully immerse myself in that NYC art world Recommended if you like reading accounts of creatives even if you're not necessarily into art

  9. Aurora Aurora says:

    Widow Basuiat was a morbid nickname given to me by Rene Ricard many years before Jean Michel diedWhen Suzanne Malouk was 15 she left her home in Canada and came to New York That's where she met Jean Michel Basuiat and where they fell in love Jennifer Clement tells the story of their doomed drug fueled on again off again relationship in a series of short vignettes written almost like prose poems and often sharing the page with Suzannes own recollections in italics Let me tell you everybody gets ruined by something even if you're a ueen in a castle something's gonna say you're mineLike Just Kids it manages to be both an intimate portrait of two young flawed and talented people and the love they have for each other and a snapshot of a lost New York the underground scene of the 1980's While it looks to the past with plenty of nostalgia it never romanticizes Clement is brutal in her descriptions of abuse addiction self destruction and racism Learning about the death of Michael Stewart broke my heart It hurts to read about and it should hurt What most people don't understand about Jean Michel is that his crazy behavior had nothing to do with being an enfant terrible Everything he did was an attack on racism and I loved him for thatI have a feeling I'm going to be thinking about this book and these people for a long long time

  10. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    An account of Suzanne Mallouk's relationship with Jean Michel Basuiat as told by Mallouk's friend Jennifer Clement I didn't care for the spoken word poetry like narratives and found Mallouk's recollections in her own words in italics throughout to be the strongest aspects of the book Famous male artists so often have a woman in the background inspiring and supporting them a muse and I am glad that Clement took the time to put Mallouk's story down and make it part of the historical record even if the format is a bit unconventional

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