A Skull and a Snake Man Seek a Mode of Transport

Happy Thursday! Artists continued…

1. Fred Wilson (1954- )

Fred Wilson was born in 1954 (no birth date given) in The Bronx and is an alumnus of the famous Music & Art High School in New York. He received his BFA from SUNY Purchase in 1976 where he was the only black student in the program. Wilson’s subject is social justice and his medium is museology (working at a museum and organizing exhibitions). In the 1970s, he worked as a freelance museum educator for the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Crafts Museum. He would address the issue of how museums consciously or unconsciously reinforced racist beliefs and behaviors. What an interesting way to contribute to the world of art! (For more information, please visit here.)

This would’ve been a great exhibit to see! Modes of Transport (1770-1910) on display 1992-1993 in Baltimore, MD.


Interesting and definitely odd. (To me, at least.) Fred Wilson’s own art titled Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! (blown glass and marbles, 2006):


2. Alison Saar (1956- )

Born on February 5, 1956 in Los Angeles, CA, Alison Saar grew up in Laurel Canyon, California. She and her two sisters were strongly encouraged by their artist parents to look at a wide range of art via books and museums. Her sculpture and installations focus on themes of African cultural diaspora and spirituality. She has been exhibited internationally as well as at UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York City, and Pasadena Museum of California Art. (For more information, please visit here.)

Here is a color woodcut and lithograph titled Snake Man (1994):


Here is a sculpture titled Weight (2012):


3. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

Born a Haitian American, Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, NY and showed artistic promise from an early age. His mother familiarized him with the world of art by taking him and his two siblings to museums around New York City. She also enrolled him in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. By the age of four, he knew how to read and write and those around him could see his artistic talent. By age 11, he could fluently speak, read and write French, Spanish and English. Basquiat first gained attention in 1976 as a graffiti artist with his friend, Al Diaz, spray-painting buildings in Lower Manhattan under the pseudonym SAMO. Their friendship and, subsequently, the graffiti art ended in 1979. In addition to his art, Basquiat became involved in television and even formed a noise rock band called Test Pattern, later renamed Gray, and performed in various clubs around town including CBGB and the Mudd Club. In 1980, Basquiat met Andy Warhol and presented him with some of his work, instantly impressing him. They would eventually collaborate on some art. His art focused on “suggestive dichotomies,” such as “wealth vs poverty” or “integration vs segregation.” He used poetry, drawing and painting, marrying text and image, abstraction and figuration, and used historical information and mixed it with contemporary critique. He was able to enjoy success; however, his heroin addiction got the better of him and began to interfere with personal relationships. When Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987, Basquiat had trouble reconciling the death and sunk deeper into depression and his addiction. At the age of 27, Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at his art studio in New York City’s NoHo neighborhood on August 12, 1988. (For more information, please visit here and here.)

This piece is Untitled, made with acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on canvas (1981):


This is also Untitled (Skull) (1984):



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