Does the name Keith Haring ring any bells? How about Jean-Michel Basquiat? In the 1980s, New York was home to some of the art world’s biggest celebrities. But what does this iconic era look like from the perspective of someone who never “made it”?
On today’s podcast episode, host and NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Brian Vincent and Heather Spore to discuss the duo’s latest documentary, Make Me Famous. Directed and edited by Brian and produced by Heather, the film follows the rise and fall of the East Village art scene from the unlikely perspective of Edward Brezinski, a decidedly un-famous neo-expressionist painter who worked alongside Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat but never quite reached the same levels of success.
“[There] was a duality that [artists like Edward Brezinski] had,” says Brian. “They both wanted to be famous and they also didn’t want to look like they were selling out.”
“We live in a world where money is so lifted up,” adds Heather. “You’re successful because you have money. We think there’s heroism in just giving your all to your art. We think that the world needs a little more of that right now. I think there’s inspiration in looking at a creative moment in American history, in New York City, in the ’80s, in the East Village, with this group of punk, angsty youth just trying to do something with their lives.”
In today’s episode, Brian and Heather open up about their project, unpacking why such a well-connected artist never became widely known. They also discuss the commodification of fame, the instrumental role that rare archival footage plays in Make Me Famous, and how the film creates a window into a pivotal moment in art history.