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story.lead_photo.caption Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, is the subject of an American Masters documentary Friday on PBS.

I don't know about you, but I'm scrounging around the TV listings these days just waiting for the new fall season to begin on Sept. 24. There are the tail ends of some series dribbling out and a few odds and ends popping up, but the smorgasbord of good stuff is still a week and a half out.

Meanwhile, PBS and AETN have a worthwhile American Masters lined up at 8 p.m. Friday. It's about someone -- and a genre -- I knew nothing about.

The 90-minute film Basquiat: Rage to Riches was directed and produced by David Shulman and tells the tale of American graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. He rose to fame during the late 1970s to early 1980s, before dying of a heroin overdose at his art studio at the age of 27 in 1988.

One of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, the accountant's son from Brooklyn was "a rock star" of the early '80s New York art scene, which included the hip-hop, punk and street art cultures. He lived fast and died young, but not before creating thousands of drawings and paintings.

Today, the documentary points out, Basquiat is in the upper echelon of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, and the Irish-born Francis Bacon. His work sells for millions and now exhibits in museums all over the world.

Example: In 2017, an untitled 1982 Basquiat painting depicting a skull was bought by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa for $110.5 million.

The film features interviews with Basquiat's two sisters, Lisane and Jeanine, who have never before spoken about their brother and his art for a television documentary.

Others who speak candidly include art dealers Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian and Mary Boone, and Basquiat's "most intimate friends, lovers and fellow artists."

Shulman says, "They draw a portrait of a handsome, charismatic and fragile personality -- also divulging the cash, drugs and pernicious racism that he encountered."


Jay Leno's Garage, 9 p.m. today on CNBC. In the episode, "General Badassery," actor Josh Duhamel (the Transformers film series) drives Jay's 1963 split-window Corvette, his all-time dream car, and Chuck Zito (Sons of Anarchy) introduces Jay to his heavily modified '57 Chevy called "The Beast From the East." Finally, Jay meets an 81-year-old woman with an original Shelby 350.

Now in his fourth season on CNBC, the former host of The Tonight Show is a well-known connoisseur of classic cars and motorcycles. His Big Dog Garage is in Burbank, Calif., and houses one of America's great collections.

Mountain Men, 8 p.m. today on History. Find out what Arkansas native Jason Hawk has been up to in his log cabin in the Ozarks when he takes his daughter, River, on "a mountain rite of passage."

In other segments, Morgan Beasley's first flight over the peaks leaves him in a dead skid over the edge; Marty Meierotto fights to double down on a big payday; and Eustace Conway bites off more than he can chew to get the job done.


Match Game. Season 3 comes to an end at 8 p.m. today on ABC. Celebrity panelists include Adam Carolla, Pamela Anderson, Mark Duplass, Ali Wentworth, Sugar Ray Leonard and Tisha Campbell-Martin.

Take Two wraps up its first season at 9 p.m. today on ABC. In "One to the Heart," Sam (Rachel Bilson) and Eddie (Eddie Cibrian) take a case involving a serial con man who victimizes wealthy women. In addition, Sam's future and Eddie's past collide and will test their professional and personal relationship.

FYI: I've found the series a pleasant summer filler and have seen every episode.

Queen of the South. The Season 3 finale airs at 8 p.m. today on USA. In "El Mundo," Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga) makes a bold move to seize the throne.

Shooter. It's the series finale after three seasons at 9 p.m. today on USA. In "Red Light," Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) attempts to put an end to Atlas (a shadowy organization that reaches high up in the government), all while trying to save his marriage and tie up the remaining threads from his past.


Here's some new stuff available Friday from the streaming services.

Bojack Horseman, Netflix, 12 episodes. Will Arnett is the voice of "the most beloved sitcom horse of the '90s." The series is rated TV-MA.

Forever, Amazon, 8 episodes. The new comedy stars Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as a married couple who decide to shake up their predictable lives.

The First, Hulu, 8 episodes. In this new series, Sean Penn heads an ensemble cast in a drama about a crew of astronauts attempting to become the first humans on Mars. Natascha McElhone co-stars.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

Weekend on 09/13/2018

Print Headline: American Masters covers short life of Basquiat


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