"Why Can't I Be Both?": Jean-Michel Basquiat and Aesthetics of Black Bodies Reconstituted
Pinn, Anthony B.
This essay explores the nature and significance of blackness in relationship to an aesthetics of meaning, a method that offers insights into how religion, or the quest for complex subjectivity, is articulated through the visual arts. The essay sketches particular examples of blackness in relationship to aesthetics in a way that involves loose movement through particular periods and locations, ultimately coming to rest on the work of one particular artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat. I explore Basquiat's work in connection to the politics and production of the aesthetic language of identity formation, examining how artistic production articulates or chronicles particular attention to this quest for complex subjectivity. And I offer a sense of this theory of religionﾒs applicability within multiple contexts.