This thoroughly engaging documentary, charts the meteoric rise and fall of the inimitable New York painter with rock-star status and one of the leading lights of late-20th-century art. The film is centered on a rare interview that director and friend Tamra Davis shot with Basquiat over twenty years ago. Much can be gleaned from insider interviews and archival footage, but it is Basquiat's own words and work that powerfully convey the mystique and allure of both the artist and the man. In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. In the late 1970s, he covers the city with the graffiti tag SAMO. In 1981, he puts paint on canvas for the first time, and sells his first piece to Deborah Harry for $200. By 1983, the selling price is more than a million. Tragically, heroin addiction kills Basquiat in 1988, at age 27 at the height of his career. His dense, bebop-influenced neoexpressionist work emerged while minimalist, conceptual art was the fad. As a successful black artist, he was constantly confronted by racism and misconceptions; his cult status eventually overrode the art that had made him famous in the first place.