Bell Hooks:  Alters of Sacrifice: Re-membering Basquiat

Elizabeth Stuart, Hope College 2018

Reading through the essay initially on Basquiat I was a bit confused about the title of the essay. At first I read the title as remembering, and I thought to myself, this is an essay in which the reader simply learns on the history of Basquait, in more of a biographical sense. However as I thought more about it I realized that this essay is written in a way to come to terms with what groups Basquait was a “member”, in that sense reassigning him in a different historical context. Through out the essay the author explains all of the ways in which Basquait conformed himself to fit into the ideals that society had for him. At one point they even describe Basquait’s work as not being black work, but work done by a white person in imitation of black work.

Reading through this causes me to wonder how many different perceptions are created by writers either intentionally or unintentionally with the wording that they use when talking about the other in art? Are authors intentionally assigning all of these labels, and if they are not, how can we as art historians stop the assignment of undesirable labels from occurring in past works of writing.

Source: Brooklyn Museum

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