The strength of this publication about legendary New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat lies to no small extent in a rather bizarre limitation: owing to ‘legal issues’, it was not possible to include a single work by the artist in the book. Instead, the book concentrates on the art scene within which the young artist moved. In a rich selection of archival images, coarsely blown up onto thick, recalcitrant, uncoated paper, we witness the world in which he made his graffiti: the gritty streets of Brooklyn and the area around Times Square, at that time still dominated by prostitution and drug dealing. Contrasting with this rough outside world is a warm interior world of friendship: pictures of his girlfriend, his apartment and himself, making things, on his way to a show, working, fooling around, performing, as a guest on a TV show. The mix of the desolation of New York at that time and the warmth and intimacy of the artists’ club, the loose association of artists, performers and gallery owners among whom Basquiat moved, is presented in an almost filmic manner, with infectious directness and vitality. Both text and images are supported by the secondary colours green and red. Quotes are presented on smaller pages. The most striking feature is the strong, jazzy rhythm of text, image, use of colour, contrasting paper types and typography, which draws the reader in and gives the impression of spending a day with this young artist whose short life was about to explode, in a legendary time and place ‘where art was life and life was art’. Strong and sensitive. Rough yet controlled. And completely convincing.
Alexis Adler et al.
Basquiat: The Artist and his New York Scene
Release date: January 2019
Language: Dutch / English
Translator: John Bezold
Final editor: Cynthia Jordens, Fabian de Kloe
Picture editor: Cynthia Jordens, Fabian de Kloe
Artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Publisher: SCHUNCK, Heerlen
Available through: Bookshop, webshop
Designer: Raw Color (Daniera ter Haar, Christoph Brach, Tijs van Nieuwenhuysen) (Eindhoven)
Printer: Tuijtel, Hardinxveld-Giessendam
Binder: Folding and sewing by Tuijtel. Trimming and binding by Boekbinderij Abbringh, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Groningen
DTP / typesetting: Raw Color, Eindhoven
Producer: Tuijtel, Hardinxveld-Giessendam
Dimensions: 200 x 280 x 11
Amount of pages: 172
Number of copies: 1.000
Price: € 30
ISBN: 978 90 74106 48 1
Font and foundry: Wilma (Type-Ø-Tones), Kievit (Fontshop)
Binding style: Sewn hardback with flat spine. Book block and binding cut flush at head, front and tail.
Paper interior: 150gsm Magno Volume, 135gsm Magno Gloss, 120gsm EOS 2.0, 90gsm Magno Natural, Igepa, Sappi Europe
Paper end papers: 140gsm Magno Natural, Sappi Europe
Cover material: 120gsm Wibalin® Natural 500 White over 2.5 mm greyboard, Winter & Company
Other technical features: The interior contains three wrappers that are shorter than the normal pages.The interior is printed CMYK and Pantone 485, 545, 5035, and 7729. The cover is printed in black with screen printing in red by Hofmans Drukkerij, IJsselstein.