Basquiat at the Art Gallery of Ontario

March 22, 2015 at 6:27 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s been a a couple of moths since I was at the Art Gallery.

The AGO is hosting Canada’s first major Basquiat exhibition right now. Its a pretty impressive selection of pieces from Basquiat’s short but productive career.

Basquiat claimed three themes were contained in his work: Royalty (the often present crown in his work), heroism, and the street. Basquiat’s early work was in the street and often incorporated found materials into the product. (Basquiat did not refer to himself as a graffiti artist) Throughout his work familiar and repeated images and ideas:  Martin Luther King,  boxing, heroes, mysterious texts.

Walking through the exhibit, it felt as if I was exposed to a mysterious text with with half-finished thoughts and codes. Powerful, evocative.

Also at the AGO right now is a collection of photographs from the Lodz ghetto by Henryk Ross. Ross was a photographer who was assigned to take work permit pictures. In addition, and at high risk to himself and his family, Ross photographed, documented the ghetto in the hope one day the world would see his pictures. Shortly before he and his wife were sent to Auschwitz, he buried the negative. After the camp was liberated, Ross returned to Lodz and retrieved his photographs. The images are chilling. But essential, vital viewing.

Ross’ collection, entitled Memory Unearthed is on display until June 14. Basquiat’s show is until May 10. See both.

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