Zeitgeist: The Art Scene of Teenage Basquiat is a group exhibition focusing on the artists and scene around Jean-Michel Basquiat’s teen-aged, pre-fame years. Curated by Howl! Happening, Sara Driver, Carlo McCormick, and Mary-Ann Monforton, Zeitgeist first appeared at Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project from May 13 – June 10, 2018 (extended to July 29, 2018) to complement and amplify the theatrical release of Sara Driver’s film BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat from Magnolia Pictures. The film premiered on May 11, 2018 at IFC, New York.
The period covered in the exhibition and film tells the story of Jean-Michel’s early work, peers, and creative community in gritty, pre-AIDS, downtown New York—before the rise of the 80s art and real estate juggernaut. It was a time when decay, drugs, and dissolution fueled a boom in creativity where the definition of fame, success, and power was not based on money, Facebook likes, and self-promotion. For these creators, to be a penniless published poet or a musician gigging at CBs was the height of success. In the rawness of the work, the focus on street art and graffiti, and the experimentation and cross-pollination of styles and disciplines, the era has become a flash point for younger generations seeking to learn about and understand the authenticity, closeness, and community expressed in the work of the artists in Zeitgeist.
The exhibition—and a series of special events—illuminate Basquiat’s work and that of his friends and other artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians who emerged from that scene, including:
Alexis Adler, Charlie Ahearn, Ted Barron, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Philippe Bordas, Robert Carrithers, Henry Chalfant, Brett De Palma, Vivienne Dick, Jane Dickson, Al Diaz, Barbara Ess, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Robert Goldman aka Bobby G, Godlis, Nan Goldin, Richard, Hambleton, Becky Howland, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Jim Jarmusch, Justen, Ladda, Ann Messner, Mary-Ann Monforton, James Nares, Glenn O’Brien, Franc Palaia, Lee Quiñones, Walter Robinson, Christy Rupp, Luc Sante, Kenny Scharf, Paul Tschinkel, Robin Winters, and Bob Gruen.