ART BIOGRAPHY Jennifer Clement Widow Basquiat (Payback Press £10)
On the face of it, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robbie Williams have nothing in common. Yet, the black graffiti artist and the Manc piss artist both challenged rivals to public bouts of pugilism. Like the Williams/Liam Gallagher spat, Basquiat's face-off with fellow visual artist Julian Schnabel (who directed a contentious film biopic of his challenger) never took place. But, as Jennifer Clement — author of Widow Basquiat - insists, his love of boxing came more out of social conscience than self-seeking stunt-making.
‘Jean-Michel was obsessed with racism,’ the Mexico City-based author and poet states. 'One of the few places that blacks were able to come out of the ghetto was in sport and he looked on black boxers as heroes. The visual art world too, is essentially a white world and Basquiat was very aware of that.’
Clement's biography tells the tragic tale of Basquiat - who died of a heroin overdose aged 27 — through the eyes of his lover Suzanne, herself the victim of a troubled childhood and a woman who had to reach the pits of drug despair before being able to pull herself up and reclaim her life. 'I see the book as a tribute to her; a book of love to her,’ notes Clement of the friend she first met while the pair worked the
graveyard shift in a Big Apple Mexican restaurant. 'The book has two protagonists; one is destroyed
Glasgow: Gallery of Modern Art until Sun 22 Oct *tti
Inflnltude, GOMA’s first show of new media, begins with a neat joke. Threshold, an LED display by Stephen Hurrel, hangs in the entrance way, asking visitors to consider the impact of dreams on waking hours. The visitor is primed therefore to consider subliminal themes, as they step across the line dividing old modern art and new.
Once inside, jokes and dreams seem to be the Order of the day. Steve Hollingsworth’s Electric Chair is, you
A LOVE STORY
and the other rises from the ashes like a phoenix.’ (Brian Donaldson)
Daniel Reeves' nightmare vision of normality
guessed it, a chair frame rendered in neon. Another serious sight gag comes in the form of Kiss, a vrdeo projection by Pernille Spence and John Scott, which digitally morphs Rodrn’s famed sculpture into a tussle. This cocks a snook at the established canon, renders immutable marble gorgeously fluid and, by anrmatrng the looming male figure, resets the couple as struggling equals.
After this pleasing dream of an egalitarian art world, Daniel Reeves' digital painting I Have This One Afternoon comes as a shock, wrth garish collage employed to explore a nightmare vrsron of norrnalrty
corrupted, blending rnemorres of New York With the artist's experiences in Vietnam. Reeves' second work on show here rs similarly affecting, Try To Live To See This is a curious blending of the relrgrous and secular, a tnptych of Video screens that seamlessly shift between images of birth, death and rebirth.
lnlr'ni'tude, then, is an exhrbition about boundaries, and just as the artists on show are caught crossing the line between traditional techniques and technological innovation, so their concerns seem focused on the border between real and rrnagrned worlds (Jack Mottram)
Glasgow: House For An Art Lover until Sat 30 Sep t t *
Benchmarks is the second in a series of projects aiming to transform Bellahouston Park into Glasgow's Art Park. The exhibrtron shows the results
of an open competition to rework the ;
humble park bench, with both
concepts and realised designs on
Of the prototypes dotted around the
grounds, Page & Park’s is the easiest on
the eye, wrth wooden slats forming the , ' shape both of an artist's palette and the park's perrrrreter. The comfrest by
far, however, is the bench by desrgn house VKBC, which takes the form of
a dip in the lawn turfed with luxurious
grass, affording a vrew of the house
j and the sky above it. The Only
permanent exhibit, too, employs natural materials: Graven lrnages’ bench takes the form of a semi-crrcular
l prrvet hedge complete wrth layered
Of the rest, the brightly coloured concrete jelly moulds by One Foot Taller have proved most popular.
Edinburgh: Royal Botanic Garden until Sun 18 Sep * * arr
Keiko Mukaide with Hydrosphere 2
There's not an artist on the planet that
can compete with Mother Nature. And 3
With some of her finest work constantly on show in Edinburgh's
Botanic Garden, anyone attempting to ‘
rival her really has their work cut out.
Elemental Traces, housed in the 3 already stunning Glasshouses, has
wrsely chosen to complement, rather than compete With its surroundings. In the Aquatic House, Kerko Mukaide's
colourful glass discs hang from the 3 cerling, reflectrng the beauty of the
grant lrly pads below, while over in the Arid House the delicacy of her tall, glass plants softens the prickly cacti.
Diana Hobson's sand-blasted glass l
sprrals mimic the roots of the grant ferns, wrth over 200 intricate pieces
inserted into the trunks, But a highlight has to be Andy Weddon and Fraser Geesin’s Arid House sound piece. A
small black dish filled wrth water which reacts to underground Vibrations, allowrng you to actually see sound. Simple, yet eminently fascinating. (Kelly Apter)
20 Jul 3Aug 2000 THE usr 91