Last night, I finally had the chance to watch this documentary on my favorite artist. It is actually a lot better than I thought it would be, giving a fairly accurate depiction of his short life. With talking heads such as ex girlfriend Susan Vega, artist and director of his 1996 biopic, Julian Schnabel as well as childhood friends like Al Diaz, also his collaborator on the early SAMO graffiti. It isn’t just ninety minutes in pure celebration of his artwork; it tries to convey the prejudices he faced, and ultimately, the drug abuse which lead to his death.
The thing that pissed me off about it though, was the collectors and dealers sitting there praising him and speaking of him as a friend, when ultimately, they were greedy wankers who couldn’t have given a fuck about him as a person. There is a very harrowing moment when Al Diaz says that one of the last times he saw Jean-Michel, he gave him a piece of work featuring the words ‘To SAMO, from SAMO’ and looking ashamed of himself, Al Diaz looks into the camera and goes, ‘Like a creep, I sold it whilst he was still alive’. Buy it HERE. Or I’m sure if you look hard enough, it’s online somewhere.