PRINT December 2005

Thelma Golden

1 THE AUDIENCE AT “BASQUIAT” (BROOKLYN MUSEUM) I had an irrepressible desire to channel the enthusiasm of a Borscht Belt emcee as I walked through the Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective. The audience embodied all of the clichés inherent to any conversation about “attracting a wider cross section of the public.” Except that the “we are the world” crowd was real, not some marketing consultant’s demographic fantasy. The turnout for “Basquiat” was truly multigenerational, genuinely multicultural, and completely engaged. That is what made the museum feel so astoundingly alive.

2 JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, “IN WORD ONLY” (CHEIM & READ, NEW YORK) The energy coursing through the rooms of “Basquiat” emanated not just from the huge, reverent crowds (whose murmurs and hums made for an incredible sound track) but from the paintings themselves. Clearly, one exhibition alone could not capture the complexity

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