I can personally say that my fascination with modern art with an emphasis on 80’s art comes from a more formal, classroom introduction to modern art. As of late though, I have noticed that I am not the only one with an interest in this era of art. This curiosity can especially be found in urban culture.
Ranging from references to Basquiat on the “Watch the Throne” album to Swizz Beats teaming up with Reebok to create a line inspired by Basquiat. You can watch a video of Swizz art shopping below.
Uh, Picasso was alive he woulda made her
That’s right nigga Mona Lisa can’t fade her
I mean Marilyn Monroe, she’s quite nice
But why all the pretty icons always all white?
Put some colored girls in the MoMA
(for a more detailed list of Basquiat references, you can check this VERY well down list but complex.com here)
But where did all this come from?! Here’s my theory: The musicians that are now making the music we listen to grew up in the 80’s at the height of street art in NY. So what they are doing now is glorifying their heroes. The same way they recently put 90’s Nick shows back on TV because the kids that watching those shows are now in their 20’s, these musicians are bringing back the influences that raised them.
All of this makes me incredibly happy because it is a great example that the heroes of OUR generation draw from a diverse group for inspiration. They are not these one dimensional figures. It also shows that hip-hop/music are not the only things that come from the street but it also brings us this beautiful art that now in the realm of artistic academia. You can conclude the same thing with hip-hop. Originally music critics thought that the genre of hip-hop was just a phase and wouldn’t last but now these hip-hop pioneers are being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
May this be a trend that continues.
So I wanted to try something cool an integrate two worlds that don’t meet enough. Fine art and hip-hop. How you ever thought about what it would be like if your favorite rapper was a painter? It’s ok, I already thought about it for you. Now I am not a modern art expert but I do have a strong general kowledge. Here is it:
Kanye West=Jean-Michel Basquiat
Its an obvious correlation. They are both genius. Both grew up in middle class homes. And both rejected the notion of traditional education. The most striking similarity is how both express their creativity in previously unknown ways i.e. Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreak (2009). They are constantly being pressured to be creative and there is sometimes lack of acceptance and certainly the potential for Kanye to collapse under his genius. This is percisely what happened to Basquiat. Truly a gift and a curse.
Frank Ocean=Marcel Duchamp
Its not quite as easy for me to explain this one but Duchamp invented the concept of ready-mades, which is him making ordinary objects in art like an upside down urenal and bicycle wheel. Yes this is real. Frank has essentially done the same thing by taking pure human emotion and making it into art. He has illuminated the idea of being human (humanity) as beautiful.
Nude Deceasing a Staircase
The obvious connection is that both are the godfather’s of their respective realm. Kanye West & Pharrell Williams look to this guy as a mentor and they are each sold millions upon millions of records. While Cezanne of course mentored artist like Picasso & Matisse. Also Cezanne was an impressionist which, by definition, is someone who depicts life as it is. Jay-Z is the same way. His songs are about his life and the struggle of growing up in the projects in Brooklyn and now that he’s rich we get songs like “Niggaz in Paris”. Get it how you live…
The Card Players
to be continued…