KQED Pressroom
pressroom home WXXI channels Events & Outreach listings & schedule corporate corporate rules & regulations

WXXI Overview

WXXI logos
Downloadable versions

WXXI Press List
sign up to receive the latest WXXI news & information
Media Usage Policy
photo & document rights, uses, permissions
Kristin Tutino
Creative Services Department


Press Releases

Tuesday, April 12 at 10 p.m. – Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

(Rochester, NY) – Centered on a rare interview that director Tamra Davis shot with her friend and contemporary Jean-Michel Basquiat over 20 years ago, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is the definitive chronicle of the short but brilliant life of the young artist who revolutionized the New York art scene almost overnight. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child airs Tuesday, April 12 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11).

Told through interviews with his fellow artists, friends, and lovers, including Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Fab 5 Freddy, Suzanne Mallouk, and Kenny Scharf, the film recounts Basquiat’s lightning-quick ascension from street kid to art world star. In the gritty, crime-ridden city that was New York in the late 1970s, artists, punk rockers, and writers
flourished in the grimy oasis of the East Village. Among them was Basquiat, a Haitian/Puerto Rican graffiti artist from Brooklyn, who covered the city with the tag SAMO. In 1981, he put paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he was an artist with rock star status. In 1985, he and Andy Warhol became close friends and painting collaborators; however, they soon parted
ways, and Warhol died suddenly in 1987. Basquiat’s heroin addiction worsened, and he died of an overdose in 1988 at the age of 27, leaving behind an enormous body of work including thousands of paintings and drawings with the potential to sell for more than a million dollars today.

With compassion and psychological insight, Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent whose fortunes mirrored the roller coaster quality of the downtown scene he seemed to embody.

To learn more about the film, and the issues involved, visit the companion web site for Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child at www.pbs.org/independentlens/jean-michel-basquiat. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.

Pictured: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Credit: Courtesy of Benno


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.