musings: Rene Ricard on "The Radiant Child"

...you could never explain to someone who uses God’s gift to enslave that you have used God’s gift to be free.
— Rene Ricard, Art Forum 12/81
  An homage to the great horn players Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. - Jean Michel Basquiat

An homage to the great horn players Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. - Jean Michel Basquiat

“What’s with art anyway, that / We give it such precedence?”  Most basic is the common respect, the popular respect for living off one’s vision. My experience has shown me that the artist is a person much respected by the poor because they have circumvented the need to exert the body, even of time, to live off what appears to be the simplest bodily act. This is an honest way to rise out of the slum, using one’s sheer self as the medium, the money earned rather a proof pure and simple of the value of that individual, The Artist. This is a basic class distinction in the perception of art where a picture your son did in jail hangs on your wall as a proof that beauty is possible even in the most wretched; that someone who can make a beautiful thing can’t be all bad; and that beauty has an ability to lift people as a Vermeer copy done in a tenement is surely the same as the greatest mural by some MFA. An object of art is an honest way of making a living, and this is much a different idea from the fancier notion that art is a scam and a ripoff. The bourgeoisie have, after all, made it a scam. But you could never explain to someone who uses God’s gift to enslave that you have used God’s gift to be free. - Rene Ricard