new-york

Jean Michel Basquiat

Annina Nosei

Surprisingly, though Jean Michel Basquiat comes, infamously by now, from a graffiti tradition (nom de spray: Samo), his colliding opposites are much less anarchistic than MacConnel’s. Whereas MacConnel’s ironic stance allows him to endorse nothing publicly, Basquiat’s reversals are not those of his own irony but of the unintended situational irony of a system he would like, one surmises, to see work, if only it could. His tone, as compared to the Flaubertian one of MacConnel’s slice of commercial low life, bears the accent of disillusionment: if MacConnel presents the way it is, Basquiat tends to emphasize the way it should be; if MacConnel describes false premises, Basquiat decries false promises.

So even such a potentially neutral formal decision as the subtly diptychal nature of these works (the ground is often split, though not evenly between two dominating colors) becomes an analogue

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