4 Days of Frankfurt – 1st day

Frankfurt was completely new for me and if there would not have been that Basquiat exhibition at the Schirn, then it would have remained a blank spot on my map of Germany. My desire of an encounter with a city full of brokers and bankers is limited – extremely limited. And my worst fears were fulfilled, when a group of suit wearers, sitting next to my table in the hotel’s breakfast room, swaggered about prices of Japanese stock exchange. Urgh!

016.JPGI must confess that I hadn’t expected that this exhibition would be such a crowd puller, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the decision to visit on a Sunday. I reached Frankfurt main station at 11:30 am, dropped my luggage down and headed for the Schirn, hoping that there will be a gap of visitors during lunch time – unfortunately wrong! There is no gap; neither in the morning nor in the afternoon; a continuous flow of audience streams through. First submersed into the dusky world of 149Jean Michel Basquiat aka SAMO aka AARON, you soon enough forget that there is summer outside and not really a day to spend inside a museum. Yes, this man was really quite attractive, and yes, he has slept with Madonna – the audience always knows more and more. Beyond that, Jean Michel Basquiat was born 1960 in Brooklyn, New York City, as the son of a Puerto Rican mother and a Haitian father. Dropped out of school aged 17, doing graffiti with a friend in SoHo und East 141Village, where all those hip galleries were located. Who wonders that he got attention and fame as SAMO and started painting as a self-taught artist, who has had chutzpah enough to sell postcard art pieced together on the copier, to Andy Warhol, who adopted him as a friend. The exhibition shows how diverse and talented he was. A designed football helmet, a fridge and record covers designed for his own recorded music, are on show. Paintings, mashups and anatomy drawings in 157arespect of Leonardo da Vinci and a huge ornamental vase, designed in collaboration with Keith Haring. Basquiat was the youngest artist ever invited to participate the Documenta 7 (1982). He emerged to one of the most important artists of the 20th century and was the first coloured artist to prevail the white art elite. He died 1988 aged 27 from an overdose of heroin. I left the exhibition in the late afternoon, exhausted and fed up with all those profound Basquiat experts. I decided to walk CREISx B-FREE x CEBU x OBSKUR x COR; Basquiat Styleback to my hotel alongside the banks of the Main and stumbled at last across Freiluftgalerie Frankfurt at Friedensbrücke. The pieces I found at that wall were related to Basquiat and electrified me. Frankfurt’s graffiti scene is worth a closer look – tomorrow.

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