One thing that has kept Jean-Michel Basquiat's star shining so bright over the years besides his art is the mystery that still surrounds late artist's life. Most of what we know about Basquiat came from his friends, family, and those who knew the artist intimately. Author Jennifer Clement wrote Widow Basquiat based on stories from Suzanne Mallouk, the artist's longtime girlfriend and muse. Additionally, Clement penned a piece for Vulture that includes experts from her book and sheds further light on what the artist was really like.
For one, Basquiat was attracted to brains more than physical features. Taking on the voice of Mallouk, Clement writes in Widow Basquiat, "It was clear that his sexual interest was not monochromatic. It did not rely on visual stimulation, such as a pretty girl. It was a very rich multichromatic sexuality. He was attracted to people for all different reasons. They could be boys, girls, thin, fat, pretty, ugly. It was, I think, driven by intelligence. He was attracted to intelligence more than anything and to pain. He was very attracted to people who silently bore some sort of inner pain as he did, and he loved people who were one of a kind, people who had a unique vision of things."
At the same time, Clement notes that Basquiat was very much a sexual person: "He loved women. He loved sex. He always had a lot of women. The only time he was faithful to me was the first few months that I lived at the Crosby loft. He had many small relationships with many different women. He would become bored quickly, though. That’s why I always had a problem knowing if I was really special to him."
Basquiat died 26 years ago, and it's safe to say that we will still be talking about him 26 years from now.