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Autor: KaM©

~ 27/02/10

Pink Race Riot 1963

The year was 1963 just four months before the author (I) was born and something was happening of great importance in our country besides my own birth.
In Birmingham Alabama a peaceful civil rights demonstration was brutally interrupted by local police with fire hoses and German Sheppard attack dogs on people who just wanted to be treated like human beings.
This incident illustrated how resistant the United States Government was towards the movement lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I think seeing these paintings were really the first time I became aware the problems I would face growing up in America because I didn’t know how to read obviously being born in the same year.
I didn’t see these paintings until 1968 when the media was focusing on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the attempted murder of Andy Warhol in his factory studio in New York that same year and I find the paintings and the events closely related because both men were of a non violent nature and were extremely religious in their own right.
During my research of the Race Riot paintings I found know one critic or journalist willing to associate the two men in the same context and probably because of Andy Warhol’s seemingly deadpan non emotional public approach that didn’t show any emotion and the visual art community’s effort to never mix the two subjects for fear of exposing their own short commings on racial equality.
Obviously he cared enough to create these controversial works for everybody to see there own history and remember that violence doesn’t solve anybody’s problems it reflects it. Andy knew what was right and he’s still  teaching us lessons to this day. He died February 22, 1987 on a Sunday.

Autor: KaM©

~ 26/02/10


This looks like an interesting new film but its a sad story that really shouldn’t be retold over and over again because it doesn’t inspire anyone,or I should say,any African Americans to become fine artists.
We are already conditioned to believe in rejection of our god given talents for more realistic goals taught to us by our parents which was taught to them by society at large.

Although Jean-Michel did enjoy some success it was brief and filled with self doubt throughout his entire career which was only seven years. I personally feel that if he had other contemporary artists that were African American around him and to support him he wouldn’t have been so lonely in an enviorment that usually consist of predominatly caucasian males who dominate the visual art world and
don’t have to worry about having people to relate to and share their feelings with.
This point is never examined when you try to figure out why he self medicated himself to a point of self-destruction and it is a shame that the impossibilities weigh so heavy on a person that they’ll try anything to fit into this American diaspora only to be exploited and then discarded like day old trash when no longer useful.
If the focus were on a collective group of artists then no one person would be at the center of attention and the pressure wouldn’t seem so great to be the leader of the pack,and,at best, it would develope a heathy competition amongst peers and one wouldn’t have to feel that they had to speak for an entire race of people.

How does one get past the artistic talent of Jean-Michel Basquiat and realize that there are a whole lot more artists out there who have just as much talent, if not more,with the same desire and passion to be a collective part of the visual arts world.I know they’re wondering when are the gates going to open up and give them a chance to express themselves.

“The feeling of loneliness and being unwanted is the most terrible of poverty.

Autor: KaM©

~ 23/02/10

In memoriam of a great friend 1958-1990.

I couldn’t resist publishing an article this month about someone who was and still is a great inspiration in my life.The late Keith Haring lost his battle with HIV related illnesses February 16, 1990 twenty years ago. Although Keith Haring was a caucasian male he was an avdocate for human rights which did include equal rights for gay & lesbian people as well as civil rights for African Americans. He painted many works that addressed these subjects and wasn’t affraid to tackle issues of police brutality on the streets of New York City, one incident in particular was the death of graffiti artist Micheal Steward (an African American) in 1984 a case in which Mr.Steward was caught by NYPD while painting and died mysteriously in police custody.I think all the graffiti artists working today legal or illegal should pay homage to Michael Steward not only this month, but,everytime they pick up a can of spray paint or stencil, they should remember that someone actually died for the love of the art form.

“The Universe of Keith Haring” the movie is a great opportunity to gain some deep insight into an artist who was on a mission from the time he arrived in New York in 1978 all the way up until his unfortunate submission to AIDS. He was a good friend to me and above all a great mentor that I will always remember year after year on this blog.

If you haven’t seen the film yet go out and rent it and while your out there, pick up the second edition of the book “Keith Haring Journals” with forword by Shepard Fairey and when you get to the entries April 1987 take note of the mention about painting a mural for Mr.Chow’s restaurant, I remember that day well because I was there riding a skateboard at the studio located at 676 Broadway watching him paint it.