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A New York Times Notable Book: This national bestseller is a vivid biography of the meteoric rise and tragic death of art star Jean-Michel Basquiat

Painter Jean-Michel Basquiat was the Jimi Hendrix of the art world. In less than a decade, he went from being a teenage graffiti artist to an international art star; he was dead of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven. Basquiat’s brief career spanned the giddy 1980s art boom and epitomized its outrageous excess. A legend in his own lifetime, Basquiat was a fixture of the downtown scene, a wild nexus of music, fashion, art, and drugs. Along the way, the artist got involved with many of the period’s most celebrated personalities, from his friendships with Keith Haring and Andy Warhol to his brief romantic fling with Madonna.
 
Nearly thirty years after his death, Basquiat’s story—and his art—continue to resonate and inspire. Posthumously, Basquiat is more successful than ever, with international retrospectives, critical acclaim, and multimillion dollar sales. Widely considered to be a major twentieth-century artist, Basquiat’s work has permeated the culture, from hip-hop shout-outs to a plethora of products. A definitive biography of this charismatic figure, Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art is as much a portrait of the era as a portrait of the artist; an incisive exposé of the eighties art market that paints a vivid picture of the rise and fall of the graffiti movement, the East Village art scene, and the art galleries and auction houses that fueled his meteoric career. Basquiat resurrects both the painter and his time.

 
While hiding from the limelight, Banksy has made himself into one of the world's best-known living artists. His pieces have fetched millions of dollars at prestigious auction houses. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his film Exit Through the Gift Shop. Once viewed as vandalism, his work is now venerated; fans have gone so far as to dismantle the walls that he has painted on for collection and sale.

But as famous as Banksy is, he is also utterly unknown—he conceals his real name, hides his face, distorts his voice, and reveals his identity to only a select few. Who is this man that has captivated millions? How did a graffiti artist from Bristol, England, find himself at the center of an artistic movement? How has someone who goes to such great lengths to keep himself hidden achieved such great notoriety? And is his anonymity a necessity to continue his vandalism—or a marketing tool to make him ever more famous?

Now, in the first ever full-scale investigation of the artist, reporter Will Ellsworth-Jones pieces together the story of Banksy, building up a picture of the man and the world in which he operates. He talks to his friends and enemies, those who knew him in his early, unnoticed days, and those who have watched him try to come to terms with his newfound fame and success. And he explores the contradictions of a champion of renegade art going to greater and greater lengths to control his image and his work.


Banksy offers a revealing glimpse at an enigmatic figure and a riveting account of how a self-professed vandal became an international icon—and turned the art world upside down in the process.

Exploring three major hubs of muralist activity in California, where indigenist imagery is prevalent, Walls of Empowerment celebrates an aesthetic that seeks to firmly establish Chicana/o sociopolitical identity in U.S. territory. Providing readers with a history and genealogy of key muralists' productions, Guisela Latorre also showcases new material and original research on works and artists never before examined in print.

An art form often associated with male creative endeavors, muralism in fact reflects significant contributions by Chicana artists. Encompassing these and other aspects of contemporary dialogues, including the often tense relationship between graffiti and muralism, Walls of Empowerment is a comprehensive study that, unlike many previous endeavors, does not privilege non-public Latina/o art. In addition, Latorre introduces readers to the role of new media, including performance, sculpture, and digital technology, in shaping the muralist's "canvas."

Drawing on nearly a decade of fieldwork, this timely endeavor highlights the ways in which California's Mexican American communities have used images of indigenous peoples to raise awareness of the region's original citizens. Latorre also casts murals as a radical force for decolonization and liberation, and she provides a stirring description of the decades, particularly the late 1960s through 1980s, that saw California's rise as the epicenter of mural production. Blending the perspectives of art history and sociology with firsthand accounts drawn from artists' interviews, Walls of Empowerment represents a crucial turning point in the study of these iconographic artifacts.

This first-of-its-kind compendium unites perspectives from artists, scholars, arts educators, policymakers, and activists to investigate the complex system of values surrounding artistic-educational endeavors. Addressing a range of artistic domains-including music, dance, theater, visual arts, film, and poetry-contributors explore and critique the conventions that govern our interactions with these practices. Artistic Citizenship focuses on the social responsibilities and functions of amateur and professional artists and examines ethical issues that are conventionally dismissed in discourses on these topics. The questions this book addresses include: How does the concept of citizenship relate to the arts? What sociocultural, political, environmental, and gendered "goods" can artistic engagements create for people worldwide? Do particular artistic endeavors have distinctive potentials for nurturing artistic citizenship? What are the most effective strategies in the arts to institute change and/or resist local, national, and world problems? What obligations do artists and consumers of art have to facilitate relationships between the arts and citizenship? How can artistic activities contribute to the eradication of adverse 'ism's? A substantial accompanying website features video clips of "artivism" in action, videotaped interviews with scholars and practitioners working in a variety of spaces and places, a blog, and supplementary resources about existing and emerging initiatives. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, Artistic Citizenship is an essential text for artists, scholars, policymakers, educators, and students.
Few direct clues exist to the everyday lives and beliefs of ordinary Jews in antiquity. Prevailing perspectives on ancient Jewish life have been shaped largely by the voices of intellectual and social elites, preserved in the writings of Philo and Josephus and the rabbinic texts of the Mishnah and Talmud. Commissioned art, architecture, and formal inscriptions displayed on tombs and synagogues equally reflect the sensibilities of their influential patrons. The perspectives and sentiments of nonelite Jews, by contrast, have mostly disappeared from the historical record. Focusing on these forgotten Jews of antiquity, Writing on the Wall takes an unprecedented look at the vernacular inscriptions and drawings they left behind and sheds new light on the richness of their quotidian lives.

Just like their neighbors throughout the eastern and southern Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt, ancient Jews scribbled and drew graffiti everyplace--in and around markets, hippodromes, theaters, pagan temples, open cliffs, sanctuaries, and even inside burial caves and synagogues. Karen Stern reveals what these markings tell us about the men and women who made them, people whose lives, beliefs, and behaviors eluded commemoration in grand literary and architectural works. Making compelling analogies with modern graffiti practices, she documents the overlooked connections between Jews and their neighbors, showing how popular Jewish practices of prayer, mortuary commemoration, commerce, and civic engagement regularly crossed ethnic and religious boundaries.

Illustrated throughout with examples of ancient graffiti, Writing on the Wall provides a tantalizingly intimate glimpse into the cultural worlds of forgotten populations living at the crossroads of Judaism, Christianity, paganism, and earliest Islam.

What is street art? Who is the street artist? Why is street art a crime?

Since the late 1990s, a distinctive cultural practice has emerged in many cities: street art, involving the placement of uncommissioned artworks in public places. Sometimes regarded as a variant of graffiti, sometimes called a new art movement, its practitioners engage in illicit activities while at the same time the resulting artworks can command high prices at auction and have become collectable aesthetic commodities. Such paradoxical responses show that street art challenges conventional understandings of culture, law, crime and art.

Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination engages with those paradoxes in order to understand how street art reveals new modes of citizenship in the contemporary city. It examines the histories of street art and the motivations of street artists, and the experiences both of making street art and looking at street art in public space. It considers the ways in which street art has become an integral part of the identity of cities such as London, New York, Berlin, and Melbourne, at the same time as street art has become increasingly criminalised. It investigates the implications of street art for conceptions of property and authority, and suggests that street art and the urban imagination can point us towards a different kind of city: the public city.

Street Art, Public City will be of interest to readers concerned with art, culture, law, cities and urban space, and also to readers in the fields of legal studies, cultural criminology, urban geography, cultural studies and art more generally.

If science, art and religion are all open pathways when utilized properly, we attempt, in this issue, to discover what true art consists of. “Ask the practitioner and inquire of the adept,” is the recourse we have resorted to herein. Music, poetry, dance, painting and film, described in these pages, are duly five sacred constituents of the infinite expanse of Advaitic experience. We have heard, seen, possibly have even known what these sacred forms have suffered at the hands of people with a desire for fame, a yen for pleasure, and the singular search for wealth that occludes and excludes all other considerations. The sweet, exalted and transporting presence of God simply disappears from the medium and atmosphere which covets such fugacious, spurious and soporific attainments. Led on by “artists” who support a mere masquerade of true attainment, beings rush to the affluent and the popular for their inner fulfillment, scarcely ever experiencing the superlative presence of divinity residing in pure artistic expression. Thus, the authentic luminaries of art, science and religion seldom get recognized by the masses, and the masses then have little recourse and access to the more profound insights and inspirations of the various refined fields.

How is music made sacred? Is it sacred already? Is all dance divine? Does all poetry reflect the divine muse within? Do all works of art speak of the highest realization? Does it really matter, or is all realization, like beauty, in “the eye of the beholder?” Possibly some of these questions may find answers in the following pages. But if not, suffice to say that where the medium is purified — where a lustral regimen has been adhered to — there, spiritualized expression will reach its zenith. When sensitive artists, seeking the highest, place their gifts and talents in action and offer the fruits of such before the world, they must first and necessarily have subjected them to purification and intensification. Any instrument, whether it be a metal tube or a fleshy tube, a wooden box with strings or a metal box containing film, a tome of writings, a paintbrush, or the human body, is always under the control of consciousness. Like different conditions of water — some fit for drinking, some for swimming, some for washing dishes and some only for carrying waste — the consciousness of human minds is also pure or impure, as the case may be. In artistic endeavor, then, as in spiritual practice, purification of what is limited or impure renders the medium fit to emanate the truth or essence of any given expression, such as inspired choreography, a masterpiece on canvas, an original composition, a unique film, or a work of literary genius — all which have the ability to transform lives. So here is the acid test with regards to true artforms, at least for the discriminating person. As is consistent with all modes of existence — with work, dreams, visions, relative experiences of all types — if they help reveal the divine essence in human nature and assist human character by way of positive accretion, then they can be said to be real, authentic, and ultimately meaningful. Otherwise, too much distraction and wasted energy plague them, as well as their host, all amounting to “vanity and vexation of human spirit."
Passionate and rollicking personal and intellectual essays by philosopher Crispin Sartwell.

Philosopher, music critic, and syndicated columnist Crispin Sartwell has forged a distinctive and fiercely original identity over the years as a cultural commentator. In books about anarchism, art and politics, Native American and African American thought and culture, Eastern spirituality, and American transcendentalism, Sartwell has relentlessly insisted on an ethos rooted in unadorned honesty with oneself and a healthy skepticism of others. This volume of selected popular writings combines music and art criticism with personal memoir about addiction and rebellion, as well as cultural commentary on race, sexuality, cynicism, and the meaning of life.

“Crispin Sartwell deserves to be recognized as the heir to a distinctively American intellectual legacy. Like the American ‘cynics’ he loves—Twain, Bierce, Mencken—he is fiercely individualistic, deeply antiauthoritarian, and slavishly aligned with no creed or academic discipline. He uses his significant erudition not to escape the ordinary or himself, but rather to let loose riches—of insight, suffering, and beauty—through a relentless examination of life, culture, and reality. Sartwell is also, in my opinion, the best philosophical prose stylist of his generation. His writing—crystalline, vivid, and intoxicating—is an uncontrollable substance. And though Sartwell swaggers, provokes, and sometimes infuriates, he does so with a tacit humility and self-scrutiny, which empowers readers to follow his example and convert their own rage into beauty.” — Elizabeth Walden, Bryant University

“Crispin Sartwell is the most important philosophical voice of his generation. He has risen into the public consciousness in the last two decades due to his controversial views on social, political, and cultural subjects. Through television appearances, journalism, and blogging, along with his numerous scholarly books, he has made a reputation as a thinker of serious thoughts. Yet, there is a lightness to his world that is irreverent, fun, and entertaining. These essays reflect some of his best writing from the past fifteen years. They are highly readable, but they are also profound reflections on the subjects that will draw many of us into deeper ponderings about the meaning of life, or, more to the point, the meaning of our lives.” — Randall Auxier, author of Time, Will, and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce
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