Filmmaker Sara Driver explores the groundbreaking teenage work of visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the new documentary, Boom for Real, which hits theaters on May 11th.
The preview opens with a homeless Basquiat navigating the colorful, yet perilous streets of New York City’s Lower East Side in 1978. “The streets were so intimate,” one person says. “You could just sit on a bench and meet somebody. You could spend the whole day [with them], and you didn’t even know who they were.”
But in the late Seventies, the confluence of punk, hip-hop and graffiti culture translated youthful anger and anti-establishment angst into some of the city’s definitive art – and Basquiat was at the forefront of that movement. He used the “SAMO” tag for his intellectual designs. (Years after ascending to fame in the following decade, he died from acute mixed drug intoxication in August 1988, at age 27.)
“When people talk about Leonardo Da Vinci, and when they talk about Jackson Pollock, they will also mention Jean-Michel Basquiat,” one interviewee says in the clip.
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat includes some of the artist’s previously unseen works, writings and photographs, along with period footage, music and images.