Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits

Archive for the tag “Jean Michel Basquiat”

You may invite 5 people to Thanksgiving

Who are they?

Alive or dead.


Preferably real people, not, like, Bert and Ernie (beside, Ernie would come to my house if given his druthers).

Let’s make this easy and say we are already allowed to bring our friends and family and loved ones.

I just want to know which famous people, or people in history, you would most like to share your holiday meal with you.

It’s interesting to wonder who out of the people we admire would make good dinner guests. I’ll forgo Woody Allen and Lester Bangs and Jean-Michel Basquiat because, frankly, I think they would make lousy guests. Andy Warhol? Nah.

My list:
1. Buddha


2. Richard Pryor


3. Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono Lennon

4. Brian Eno


5. John Cage


This will all change by next week. (Well, not, I suspect, Buddha and Richard).

Who’s on your list?

New graffiti book sheds light on underground art

Gregory J. Snyder has penned Graffiti Lives: Beyond the Tag In New York’s Urban Underground, a rare critical work examining New York’s underground graffiti culture.


Graffiti Lives treats the much maligned art form and the urban youth who make it with respect. Snyder argues that although spray painting images on public property is illegal, it’s hardly a gateway to a life of criminal activity. In many cases, young graffiti artists grow up to find work in the art and design world. Many artists featured in the book have gone on to international acclaim with gallery shows all over the world.

Remember Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat? Their early “pieces” appeared on buildings and subway cars. Haring spoke eloquently of his attraction to graffiti:

I arrived in New York at a time when the most beautiful paintings being shown in the city were on wheels – on trains – paintings that traveled to you instead of vice versa. I was immediately attracted to the subway graffiti on several levels: the obvious mastery of drawing and color, the scale, the pop imagery, the commitment to drawing worthy of risk and the direct relationship between artist and audience


I still get excited when I see graffiti. Here in D.C. I see some really vivid and imaginative work while I ride on the Red Line through the city’s northeast side. You never know, I could be looking at tomorrow’s Picasso.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Beat Bop”

Let’s take a second to look at Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s 1983 painting “Beat Bop”:

It’s such an interesting work. It looks nothing like the vibrant, colorful paintings he’s known for, but if you look closely, you see its content is signature Basquiat, all about the power of black music in America, specifically the jazz he loved so much. Here’s one of the artist with a more recognizable work:

Basquiat is probably my favorite artist. I fell in love with his work when I was about 16. My mom bought me a book on the dollar table in a book store at a mall in St. Petersburg, Fl. The book shaped the course of my life. It was called Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene and it was a history of all the great bands and artists in New York during the 1970s and 1980s. It was filled with big, glossy color pictures. For a dollar! That book introduced me to the work and ideas of Basquiat, Keith Haring, Kenny Sharf, John Sex, Ann Magnuson, Klaus Nomi and so many more historic figures. It also included great stories about some of my favorite bands: the Ramones, Talking Heads, the B-52s, and music I would love later, like Patti Smith, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids.

Anyway, thanks, Mom.

And thanks, Jean-Michel.

More graves of the (mostly) young and tragic

After it occurred to me that most of the people in my favorite videos from The Guardian’s list (see earlier post) died young and tragically, I found pics of all their graves. I already posted Billie Holiday’s (go back two posts).

Here are the rest – with the exception of Sid Vicious‘s grave because he was cremated and scattered in undisclosed places. In his stead, I included Stiv Bators’ grave. Bators, lead singer of both the Dead Boys and Lords of the New Church, died in his sleep after being hit by a car while he was walking around drunk.

Stiv Bators (Ile-de-France, France):

John Coltrane (Farmingdale, New York):

Maria Callas (Paris, France):

Vladimir Nabokov (Vaud, Switzerland):

James Dean (Fairmont, Indiana):

Jean-Michel Basquiat (Brooklyn, New York):

Basquiat’s ‘Charles the First’

The mention of Jean-Michel Basquiat inspired me to look at some of his art. I’m a huge fan. Here’s a piece called Charles The First. The bottom left portion interests me the most:

50 Greatest arts videos on YouTube

The Guardian of Great Britain published what it thinks is The 50 Greatest Arts Videos on YouTube, everything from Joy Division‘s television debut to readings by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac.

Here are my faves from the list. (Wow, looks like I have a jones for people who died young and tragically. Heroin junkies a plus!):
Jazz’s greatest saxophonist John Coltrane performing My Favorite Things in 1961 in Germany:

An emotional Billie Holiday performing Strange Fruit five months before her death at age 44 from cirrhosis of the liver. (Holiday, whose body was ravaged from years of drug and alcohol abuse, was arrested for possession of drugs on her deathbed.)
I have never before seen live footage of Holiday singing.:

Doomed punk icons Sid and Nancy on New York public access television, 1978. Sid was the bassist of the Sex Pistols. That’s Dead Boys singer Stiv Bators on their left. Watch them laugh when a caller mentions Ted Nugent and the Bee-Gees. Months after this, Sid killed Nancy.

The brilliant Vladmir Nabokov discusses the racy Lolita, 1950s:

James Dean and Paul Newman joke around about being gay during a screen test for East of Eden:

Artist SAMO (aka Jean-Michel Basquiat) interviewed about graffiti on New York cable television, 1978, several years before Basquiat was recognized as a fine artist:

The great Maria Callas singing in Puccini‘s Tosca , 1964:

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