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How I Began an Art Duel Versus Basquiat by Jean Manuel Beauchamp

How I Began an Art Duel Versus Basquiat by Jean Manuel Beauchamp

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Published by Panaman

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Published by: Panaman on May 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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How I Began an Art Duel Versus Basquiat
 by Jean Manuel Beauchampfor The Art of Viewing Art by John Zinsser at The New SchoolMay 19, 2011While most people would consider that challenging a dead man to a duel is anunfair battle, I would consider it a form of exposure. While some would consider theartist Jean Michel Basquiat a dead man, I would consider him physically unavailable todefend himself against my challenges. I believe this small setback is something that gaveme the confidence to actually go forward with claiming his beloved crown, however I’mnot saying I’m particularly worthy of placing such an esteemed symbol of power on myhead, yet, but I did it anyway. In this 21st century, advertising is the most sincere form of flattery. However, my duels are not so much advertising-based as they are anappropriation of the artist’s work as a human being. The artwork of others not onlyinspires my own, but it invites participation in a way that no previous appropriated workshave done before through the medium of photography. The use of borrowed elements toform the creation of a new work is heightened by the interactive format that is known asan
art duel 
. The duel in question allows both artists to merge their complete artworks and provide their audiences with a metaphysical way of looking at art. This type of battle-of-the-arts not only shows us that the works of an artist can come to life through the personal contact a viewer has with it, but also that new artwork can be created thanks to
this interaction. However, before I elaborate on the strategies of art dueling, here is thestory of how I began my battle
versus Basquiat 
.Paris was cold, but not as cold as it was back home, where the New York Snowpocalypse of January 2011 was forcing everyone to stay indoors. While on vacationto visit family, my views on France and its citizens had become more and more favorableas I began to appreciate the history of its streets and their knowledge of art. Mostly, Istarted to get used to its smell. The scent of heavy coats over chilled skin warming itself with wine and cigarettes brought to my mind the countless number of artists who hadsurvived the same Parisian winter years before. From the bohemians of the post-impressionable 1800s, to the beat poets of the 1950s, the thought of present-day Paris bursting with history and inspiration did little more than reduce my own. As a twenty-oneyear old filmmaker whose creative work ethic became stalled since my enrollment in New York’s New School University, my portfolio was not expanding and it almost causedme to give up attempts at creating new work. The thought of my favorite artists such asToulouse Lautrec, Henri Rousseau, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs beinginspired by the enriching city of Paris made me feel pressure to find my own vision in it,and caused me to walk around like I had never walked before. As a Panamanian NewYorker, I had forgotten what it was like to stroll along a public sidewalk without feelingthe need to turn my feet into speeding vehicles. The fact that Paris is a walkable cityencouraged me absorb as much as I could both in my photographic memory as well as inmy trusty Flip video camera.
The Flip video camera that I had in my hands was initially purchased to recordvideo for my film studies at New York Film Academy. The simple and small cell-phone-like physique of this camera that records video in high-definition had never allowed meto shoot in a visually appealing way. Intended and marketed mostly for online clips andhome video filmmaking, the fact that the Flip offers no image stabilization or manualfocusing of any kind caused me to set this device on my desk, collecting dust. When my beloved iPhone perished, the Flip became my only readily available device on which tocapture images, so I figured I’d take it out in public to see what I could capture on thestreets. The discreetness of the camera allowed me to point it at the Parisians without being noticed. Throughout the day, I had already recorded a half-hour’s worth of footageranging from the stereotypical landmark shots of the Eiffel Tower, to the elegantlydressed street urchins taking naps at the Jardin du Luxembourg. Accepting the fact that Ihadn’t filmed anything in a while, I was content knowing that I had at least capturedevidence of my travels despite its visually unpleasing digital format and had practiced thetechniques in framing and recording using only one hand. While crossing the street at theChamps Elysees, I noticed a poster advertising a retrospective on the New York-bornneo-impressionist artist Jean Michel Basquiat being exhibited at le Musee du ArtModerne. Not having a notebook, I took out my Flip and recorded a short clip makingsure I framed it correctly to be able to see the details on the poster. When I arrived to mycomputer, a MacBook Pro, I uploaded the footage and re-watched the clip making sure to pause it at the right time. I took a screenshot of the full-framed image and saved it as a

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