Highlights - Lee Jaffe - Author of “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossroads” - Intimate Portraits of Bob Marley - Basquiat


Manage episode 342586570 series 3288434
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"And it was a time of great political repression. People on the left were disappearing. There was group of artists and musicians and writers who were creating things against the military government in Brazil. When I arrived in Rio in 1969, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, they had been imprisoned. They were in exile. They were let out of prison on condition they would leave the country. They were living in England. It was dangerous to be an artist saying anything against the government. And it was the time of the Vietnam War, towards the end of the Civil Rights Movement. I mean, it's never really ended, but...there were the assassinations of all the Black Panthers and Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and then RFK in '68, which very much pushed me into - I mean, I wanted to travel, I wanted to find out what the world was like, but - it was kind of a last straw when RFK was assassinated because then it was like, there is no law. The United States has no law. If there's political opposition, you'll just die. And then I was in Brazil, and it was very palpable. There was no disguise. There was no veneer.”

Lee Jaffe, a cross-disciplinary visual artist, musician, and poet, took photos of his friend, Jean-Michel Basquiat, when they traveled abroad in 1983. As a photographer, Jaffe had a connection to Basquiat, and their time spent together resulted in an archive of imagery that captured one of the art world’s true legends through an unfiltered and authentic lens.

“For me, watching him [Jean-Michel] paint reminded me of the times I would sit and play harmonica while Bob Marley, with his acoustic guitar, would be writing songs that were eventually to become classics,” Jaffe says. “With Jean and Bob, it seemed like they were channeling inspiration coming from an otherworldly place.”

Basquiat and Jaffe connected over reggae music. It was the early 1980s in New York. Jaffe had been a member of Bob Marley’s band, producer on Peter Tosh’s first solo album. and collaborated with art world figures Helio Oiticica, Gordon Matta Clark, and Vito Acconci. Jaffe is the author of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossroads.



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