I set off from Rue Victor Massé and walked west on Place de Clichy heading for the leafless trees of the Bois de Boulogne. After 2 hours of continuous walking I arrived at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in a state of feverish excitement!
I adore Basquiat’s work and have seen many exhibitions down the years including: Musée Maillol, Paris 2003, Brooklyn Museum 2005, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 2010, Guggenheim Bilbao 2015 and Boom For Real at the Barbican Centre, London 2017 to name a few.
However, this experience was possibly the best. The sheer size and scale of the exhibition on 4 floors is staggering and overwhelming and the art on display is glorious. There is nothing like seeing the work in the ‘flesh’; it pulsates with colour and energy and is entrancing and teasing with riddles, intellect, word play, pathos and wonder in multiple layers of meaning. My response was both emotional (especially in front of Riding with Death) and enquiring; I was infected with passion and fascination.
On my second visit on Monday 7 January, my response was more analytical, searching the canvas surfaces for technique and hidden symbols, meaning and marks in the notions of society and self. It was an extraordinary experience; I sat at the feet to learn wisdom!
The exhibition includes works previously unseen in Europe, essential works such as Obnoxious Liberals (1982), In Italian (1983), and Riding with Death (1988), as well as paintings which have rarely been seen since their first presentations during the artist’s lifetime, such as Offensive Orange (1982), Untitled (Boxer) (1982), and Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers) (1982).
I feel privileged to have seen the exhibition. The exhibition ends on the 21 January.
I returned home last night to a good news e mail:
Hi Michael - hope you are well. Just to let you know that ‘Crown Silence’ has sold. Well done again and payment will be made on or before 7th January 2019.
Hope you enjoy the festive break.
Thank you Velvet Easel and thank you to whoever bought my work yesterday, may it bring you much contemplation and joyfulness.
Pre-selection is now complete. Sadly, on this occasion your work has not been selected for the Open Submission section of . . . 2019.
Thank you for submitting your proposal to exhibit at P. . . Gallery for the 2018 Exhibition Programme, we appreciate the time and effort put into making your application.
There were a large number of ambitious proposals submitted this year, but unfortunately your proposal was not successful this time. We would however be very happy to consider a future application from you and details of next years’ submission date will be made available . . .
Rejection is never a pleasant experience but now, I largely move on and heed the words of Eleanor Roosevelt – “ No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” There is a spasm of hurt but then defiance and motivation propel me onwards.
In the past however, self-doubt and insecurity crept like ivy into my mind eating away at self-esteem and confidence. I really did begin to question my work and reasons for doing it. Now I realise rejection is frequently the result of an opinion of one or more individuals and that the opinion is subjective. The only evaluation that is of real value to me is my own.
Finally, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Meditations
In other words try to use the experience, use the obstacle. Occasionally, the little devil on my shoulder begins the ‘your work is no good’ whispering but I just flick it off, ignore it and work through those moments.
So, no more emotional destruction!