Art vs The Media

Art vs The Media

Kamari Tensley '22, Writer

Expression, depiction, and freedom…the foundational values deeply embedded in the essence of true artistry. The values that capture true art are lost because of the influence of the media. An ongoing conflict being faced in the world of art is at the root of art vs. media. 

Art is an aspect of the world that has no rules and no limitations, but because of the media’s presence it is classified and characterized. Artists find themselves creating not for themselves, but for approval; therefore, some artists have lost it all at the hands of the media. One of the most notable examples lies at the hands of Jean Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Two of the 80s greatest artists, but more importantly- friends. Warhol and Basquiat were both very expressive artists who were understood by their styles of art, but most importantly for their influence. Basquiat being known as one of the greatest African American artists, he is a man loved and celebrated to this day, yet lost at the disapproval of people who could never be expressive in the way he was.

 Andy Warhol and Basquiat developed a friendship, but it was cut very short after a collaboration show they did together called “Art Titans.” The two steadfast in their artistic identities they created off of each other. Leaving footprints, so large it was viable to see that both artistic geniuses made their voices heard. 1984-1985 the two did their series of shows, but unfortunately their art was not seen in a positive light being regarded as a failed attempt to bring two creative minds together. Basquiat X Warhol was considered to be a fail. It completely drove a wedge in what would be the end of their friendship, and moreover the end of Basquiat and Warhol as a whole. The media absolutely bashed the two calling out Warhol on the fact that he only used the young Basquiat to revive himself in the art industry, and Basquiat believed it all. 

The two did not speak ever again. What makes matters worse, is that Warhol died two years later, which completely tore Basquiat apart because he had lost his friend at the hands of the media. Basquiat never speaking to Warhol again caused him to enter an unfortunate decline, and he died a year later due to a drug overdose. These two, known as some of the greatest artists of our time, lost because of a few media critics calling their hard work, expression, and feelings not good enough and ruined it by manipulation. 

How can art be good? How can the expression of someone’s views be considered good or bad? There is no such thing as good or bad because art has no rules. It has no guidelines, no ends justified by the means. To this day Warhol and Basquiat’s collaboration pieces are considered one of the greatest collaborations in the history of art, yet these two men’s lives were destroyed because what they worked so hard on was completely disregarded. It goes to show that art lives forever whether “good or bad,” and ironically the two artist’s failed attempt has lived on for decades; therefore, it clearly shows the failed attempt lies in the hands of the media. 

Words plague the world day in and day out, and the media’s influence and power hurts the likes of many great creatives; therefore, for any artist or upcoming artist do not allow the words of someone else plague or deter the creativity that flows. The great Pablo Picasso once said “Learn the rules like a pro, and break them like an artist.”