A Justice Site
The Wild Child
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 25, 2000
Latest update: February 5, 2001
Essay by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata
Part of Peacemaking Identity Series
Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, February 2001. "Fair Use" encouraged.
This essay is based on Phoebe Hoban's Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art. Penguin Books. 1998. ISBN: 0 14 02.3609 0 (pbk). I picked it up in Vroman's Museum Store last week, and took it along to read in the plane to Las Vegas for our daughter's wedding.
I've always been drawn to Basquiat's work, and now I want to use it to illustrate the effects of subjugation on intellectual and spiritual growth. Jean-Michel was an angry and frustrated child. He did not want his "fair share" of riches. He wanted NOT to be colonized, not to be subjugated. That is what I carried away from Hoban's biography, and I want to illustrate that for you. For when we speak of a "moderate Christian antisemitism," or a "moderate Christian white privilege," we need to hear the anger of those like Frantz Fanon and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Like Hochstadter, I believe there can be no such thing as moderate Christian hate and subjugation.
The poignancy of Basquiat's work and the egregiousness of his behavior as the The Wild Child offer us some insight into the pain of subjugation and exclusion in the behavior of even the most gifted, as almost all agreed that Basquiat was.
I would like you to see similar patterns in Alfred de Vigny's poem, Moise, and in Francois Villon's Ballade des Pendus.
Alfred de Vigny's Moise with English translation.
Francois Villon's Ballade des Pendus French, with English translation.
Ballade des Pendus with illustrated manuscript. English version.
Link added February 5, 2001.