Distributed by Film Movement
Produced by Oren Jacoby
Directed by Oren Jacoby
DVD , color, 88 min.
High School - General Adult
Biography, Art History, Street Art, Conceptual Art
Date Entered: 03/27/2018Reviewed by Barbara J. Walter, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO
"At least Basquiat, you know, died. I was alive when I died, you know. That’s the problem."
--Richard Hambleton, in Shadowman
Well-known New York City street artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring rocketed to fame in the 1980s, lived fast, died young and left a limited number of works that today command prices in the millions. Equally well-known at the time, Richard Hambleton, aka Shadowman, outlived his colleagues by twenty-five years, evolving through several artistic phases and creating an enormous body of work; yet only recently has he begun to receive the critical acclaim and command the prices he deserves. What was this living death that Hambleton experienced, and what is his legacy?
Director/producer Oren Jacoby (My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes, 2014, Constantine’s Sword, 2007) interviews NYC artists and collectors, art dealers and gallery owners, adds archival footage and stills to his own footage of Hambleton’s last years to create an unflinching portrait of an edgy, creative genius who stubbornly refused to play the game leading to financial success, and who nearly destroyed himself with drugs in his search for beauty, sublimity and ecstasy.
A fine choice for academic libraries supporting degree programs in the fine arts, and especially appropriate for courses surveying 20th-century American art, Shadowman brings Hambleton vividly to life, along with the gritty art scene of 1980s New York.