To Repel Ghosts: Five Sides in B Minor

Overview

Art-world phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat was prolific in his short lifetime, creating an exhilarating new art inspired by music, language, and black American cultural icons. To Repel Ghosts synchronizes the harmony and discord of Basquiat's canvases, adapting them as a bass line to improvise and play upon. Young renders ambitious, celebratory poetry of the everyday and the exalted -- a double-album in verse, a jazz symphony, a hip-hop opera -- taking Basquiat's funkified history and making it sing. Structured on...
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Overview

Art-world phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat was prolific in his short lifetime, creating an exhilarating new art inspired by music, language, and black American cultural icons. To Repel Ghosts synchronizes the harmony and discord of Basquiat's canvases, adapting them as a bass line to improvise and play upon. Young renders ambitious, celebratory poetry of the everyday and the exalted -- a double-album in verse, a jazz symphony, a hip-hop opera -- taking Basquiat's funkified history and making it sing. Structured on two "discs," To Repel Ghosts shows five "sides" of the artist, exploring the rise and demise of a painter who helped break through the art world's color line, first as SAMO[copyright] and then as a downtown art-scene wunderkind. Here are riffs on -- and extended rhapsodies for -- a pantheon of black genius: ballplayers, comic book and folk heroes, boxers, and especially musicians: Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Robert Johnson, and Grace Jones. This kaleidoscope of lives emerges in To Repel Ghosts to provide a unique foil to Basquiat's own bout with fame.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581952049
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 3/10/2003
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

KEVIN YOUNG’S first book, Most Way Home, won the Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares and was selected by Lucille Clifton for the National Poetry Series. Knopf will publish his latest book, Jelly Roll: A Blues, in February 2003.
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Read an Excerpt

ART-WORLD PHENOMENON Jean-Michel Basquiat was prolific in his short lifetime, creating an exhilarating new art inspired by music, language, and black American cultural icons. To Repel Ghosts synchronizes the harmony and discord of Basquiat’s canvases, adapting them as a bass line to improvise and play upon. Young renders ambitious, celebratory poetry of the everyday and the exalted — a double-album in verse, a jazz symphony, a hip-hop opera — taking Basquiat’s funkified history and making it sing.

Structured on two “discs,” To Repel Ghosts shows five “sides” of the artist, exploring the rise and demise of a painter who helped break through the art world’s color line, first as SAMO© and then as a downtown art-scene wunderkind.

Here are riffs on — and extended rhapsodies for — a pantheon of black genius: ballplayers, comic book and folk heroes, boxers, and especially musicians: Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Robert Johnson, and Grace Jones. This kaleidoscope of lives emerges in To Repel Ghosts to provide a unique foil to Basquiat’s own bout with fame.

As an urban epic in the tradition of Langston Hughes’s Montage of a Dream Deferred and Federico García Lorca’s Poet in New York, To Repel Ghosts poignantly charts Basquiat’s era, its popular, social, and racial energies and excesses. An album of our times, it is a powerful statement on a now-gone genius, and our recently completed century.
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Table of Contents

Disc 1 Zydeco
Prehistory
Side 1 Bootlegs
1. Campbell's Black Bean Soup 5
2. Poison Oasis [1981] 6
3. Cadillac Moon [1981] 7
4. Space Pork [1977] 9
5. City-As-School 11
6. Vocabulario 13
7. Bros. Sausage [1983] 14
8. Man-Made 16
9. Canal Zone [1979] [Crossed out]
10. Gringo Pilot [1981] 20
11. 3 Kinds of Fences 23
12. Monarchs 25
13. Oleo 30
14. Gray 32
15. New York/New Wave
Rinso 34
The Wolves 36
16. New York Beat [1980-81] 38
17. Times Square Show 40
18. Beyond Words 44
19. Defacement [1983] 48
20. Six Crimee 50
21. Irony of Negro Policeman [1981] 53
22. Obnoxious Liberals [1982] 54
23. Dos Cabezas [1982] 55
24. Amateur Bout 57
25. Oxidation Portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat [1982] 62
26. Dimensions 63
27. Vndrz [1982] 64
Side 2 Hits
28. Negative 69
29. Jack Johnson
Black Jack 70
The Upset 71
The Crown 73
The Ring 77
The Fix 80
Last Chance 82
Exhibitions 85
The Race 89
30. Notary Public 92
31. The Fun Gallery 95
32. 2 1/2 Hours of Chinese Food 97
33. Pork 99
34. Eyes & Eggs [1983] 100
35. Television & Cruelty to Animals 103
36. Quality Meats for the Public 108
37. Out Getting Ribs 110
38. Shadow Boxing
Jersey Joe Walcott [Crossed out]
Saint Joe Louis Surrounded by Snakes 113
Sugar Ray 114
39. B.O. 117
40. In Italian
Thesis 120
Flash in Venice 121
False 123
The Italian Version of Popeye Has No Pork in His Diet 125
Popeye versus the Nazis 126
Catharsis 127
41. Onion Gum [1983] 129
42. Wine of Babylon [1984] 131
43. Battle Royale
Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol 133
Cassius Clay by Basquiat 134
44. First Class [1983] 138
Side 3 Takes
45. Hollywood Africans [1983] 143
46. Coke (The Real Thing) 145
47. Crown [Crossed out]
48. Self-Portrait as a Heel [1982] 148
49. Self-Portrait as a Heel, Part Two [1982] 151
50. Famous Negro Athlete 152
51. Gold Alloy Powder 154
52. Discography One
Satchmo 156
Now's the Time 157
Stardust 158
Lester Yellow 159
Max Roach 160
53. Horn Players 162
54. Histoire de Peuple Noir (Detail) 163
55. Undiscovered Genius of the Mississippi Delta 164
56. Revised Undiscovered Genius of the Mississippi Delta 168
57. Color 170
58. Fake/New [1983] 171
59. King Zulu
Native Carrying Some Guns, Bibles, Amorites on Safari 173
Tobacco vs. Red Chief 174
Jim Crow 174
Lent 175
60. Skin Head Wig [1982-83] 177
61. Frogmen [1983] 180
62. Toxic [1984] 182
63. Discography Two
Jazz 186
50[cent] Piece 186
Quality 187
Godehild Miles Davis [Crossed out]
Piscine vs. the Best Hotels 188
Black 190
64. Black Man, The 191
65. Zydeco
Icebox 193
Early Sound Film 194
Pick Ax 195
66. Langston Hughes 197
67. Logo 198
Disc 2 Mojo
Side 4 B-Sides
68. New Art, New Money 205
69. Collaborations [1984]
Arm & Hammer 209
Socialite 209
Alba's Breakfast 210
Negress 211
Everlast 212
70. His Glue Sniffing Valet 214
71. Il Publico Bruto 216
72. Fois Gras [1984] 219
73. Antar 223
74. Nu-Nile [1985] 224
75. Warhol Attends Roy Cohn's Final Birthday Party at the Palladium, June 1985 227
76. Surfaces
Self-portrait by Andy Warhol 1986 229
Inside the Forbidden City, Beijing 1982 229
Andy Warhol Drawn by Jean-Michel Basquiat 1984 230
Brown Spots 230
Basquiat Painted by Andy Warhol 1984 231
Warhol at the Hotel Principe di Savoia 1987 231
77. Peruvian Maid or, 3/4 of Olympia Minus the Servant 233
78. Venus
Detail of Servant from Olympia [Crossed out]
Abuelita 235
Big Joy 236
Dog Bite 236
Mad 230
79. Last Supper [1987] 239
80. Surfaces (cont'd.)
Autopsy 243
Warhol Time Capsule 1980s 243
Andy Warhol on Television, Miami Beach 1987 244
Invisible Seulpture by Andy Warhol at Area 1985 [Crossed out]
Warhol Models with Miles Davis at Tunnel 1987 244
Jean-Michel Basquiat Eating, by Andy Warhol 245
81. Gravestone [1987] 247
82. Memorial Mass for Andy Warhol, April Fool's Day, 1987 249
83. She Installs Confidence & Picks His Brain Like a Salad 252
84. Sketches of a Shark (Still Life) 254
85. Warhol Estate Auction, Sotheby's 1988 256
86. Collection of Dennis Hopper [1987] 258
Side 5 Solos
87. Charlie Chan on Horn 263
88. Savoy 265
89. Riddle Me This Batman 267
90. Nature Morte [1988] 269
91. Light Blue Movers [1987] 272
92. Pig Latin [Crossed out]
93. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Derelict
Cheese Popcorn 274
Plaid 275
Greenish Skin 276
94. Oreo [1988] 278
95. Calcium [1988] 279
96. Victor 25448 [1987] 280
97. The Mechanics that Always Have a Gear Left Over [1988] 283
98. To be Titled 286
99. Pegasus [1988] [Crossed out]
100. Riding with Death [1988] 288
101. Will (& Testament) 290
102. Kalik [1988] 291
103. Eroica [1988] 293
104. TV Star [1988]
2 News 296
11 Webster 297
Magnum 297
Thee's Company 298
Amber Vision 299
Speedy 299
Soaps 300
Pledge Drive 301
105. Haiku 303
106. The Pictures
Advance Publicity... 304
Art House Revival 304
The Late Show 305
107. Two Photographs of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Paris 307
108. Pentimento
Dos Cabezas 2 309
Man Struck Lightning--2 Witnesses 310
Anybody Speaking Words 311
Ernok 311
"Replicas" 313
Gri Gri 314
109. Soul 315
110. The Ninth Circle 317
111. Epitaph 320
112. Shrine Outside Basquiat's Studio, September 1988 322
113. Vanitas 324
114. Relics
Throne 326
Cravat 327
Love 329
Brain[copyright] 329
One Man Show 332
Canonization 332
115. Heaven [1985] 335
116. Urgent Telegram to Jean-Michel Basquiat 339
117. Retrospective 341
Liner Notes 345
Acknowledgments 348
Index 349
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