Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life unfortunately ended far too early (he passed away of a drug overdose at only 27, 30 years ago) but it obviously has been very intense – apparently also his love life. Don’t you feel that looking at images of him, it’s hard to imagine a more sensual and passionate lover? Up until today, the art world, fashion industry and pop culture alike are still fascinated by the legendary myths surrounding him.
No wonder as he was not only good looking but also developed a very special yet eccentric signature style, for example painting while wearing expensive suits – with naked feet. Oh, and not to forget that he dated Madonna. But there were also his dark moments, self destruction and doubts, drugs and fights.
A recent discovery, Jennifer Clement`s novel “Widow Basquiat,” analyses Basquiat’s longtime on-off relationship with her friend, Suzanne Mallouk — a tumultuous affair full of love, but also of drugs, sex and break-ups. Just in case you didn’t have the chance to date Basquiat yourself, we’ve came up with an overview of the most important details from the publication. Now you can get an idea how it must have been to be at the side of the art world’s biggest rock star.
He didn’t like to read
“Jean-Michel never reads. He picks up books on mythology, history and anatomy, comic books or newspapers. He looks for the words that attack him and puts them on the canvas. He listens for things Suzanne says and writes them on his drawings. He listens to the television.”
Drugs Played a major role
“Jean always did drugs, he never stopped. Whenever he went to Europe or Japan or any new place you could count on it that in a couple of hours upon arriving he knew where to buy what he wanted. It was like he had a radar for it. Once when he came to Canada to get me, within five minutes he was off on my brother’s motorcycle buying drugs.”
He loved to love
His other major interest was girls, women. He loved women. He loved sex. He always had a lot of women.
His life started at night
“Jean-Michel was made for the night, like a mole. The daylight hurts, the sun hurts, but at night he is transformed into a magician, a Merlin with everything wound up tight and sparkling. Nights are for drugs. Drugs are for nights. In daylight he looks for his shadow and crawls up inside it.”
No music, no Basquiat
“His main interest was music, though. He loved jazz, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, etc. This is what he listened to at the Crosby loft. When he moved to the Great Jones loft he developed a taste for classical music (I think from Andy Warhol). He loved making experimental music. He actually put out a record that he produced and put up the money for it. The record was a rap record that he did with the rappers K Rob and Rammellzee.
* all quotes by Jennifer Clement on Suzanne Mallouk, “Widow Basquiat”
Images via canongate, eclectic vibes, christies, bursarts