Basquiat: Boom for Real

This Summer Video Jam embarks on a 2 month curatorial residency at Flux Factory, New York - supported by the Arts Council International Artist Development Fund and the Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grant. We have been commissioned by The Barbican to curate an event to accompany their exhibition ‘Basquiat: Boom For Real’ later in the year - the UK’s first major exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work. You can view more information here

Whilst in New York we will be commissioning 5 New York based filmmakers to create new moving image works inspired by their personal take on Basquiat's life, work or influences - an artist famous for his connection with the 1980s New York arts scene and street culture. Upon completion, each film will be paired with a UK musician or sound artist to create an accompanying score, resulting in a series of unique audio/visual works that will be presented at a standalone event as part of the Barbican’s music programme later in the year.

More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on Basquiat’s relationship to music, literature, film and television, placing him within the wider cultural context of the time. A famously self-taught artist, Basquiat sampled from a dizzying array of sources - from artist monographs to record liner notes to surrealist film - which have been the subject of rigorous new research, enabling the rich depth of his compositions to be understood as never before.

For our event we aim to create a programme of work that reflects and explores the themes of the exhibition within a wide variety of genres ranging between experimental video and archive/found footage to animation and documentary/essay film styles. This extends and develops an ongoing trajectory of Video Jam events responding both to exhibitions, such as the Colombo Art Biennale 2016, and the work of individual artists, including Jeremy Deller, Ryan Gander, Hedy Lamarr, Ryoichi Kurokawa and Igor Stravinsky.

For this project, each commissioned artist will gain access to groundbreaking research behind the Barbican's exhibition, as well as the opportunity to meet with the Video Jam curators in New York City this summer to discuss their work. Flux Factory, our host organisation, is located nearby to MoMA PS1 where Basquiat’s work was showcased for the first time in 1981. We would like to explore how the contexts within which Basquiat was working has lasted and spread beyond the 1980’s, continuing influence on a current generation of artists both in the UK and the US.

As a public and community space, our residency host Flux Factory has a longstanding history of supporting international curators and artists. Through Flux Factory’s networks and our own we will meet and collaborate with local musicians, filmmakers and producers based in New York to carry out a series of testbed events in artist led spaces in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as delivering talks, workshops and organisational development.

This is an exciting new phase for Video Jam. We’d like to thank all our collaborators, artists & friends who continue to support us.

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