Reviews for Widow Basquiat

For “Sublime, poetic…[Clement] chronicles her close friend Suzanne Mallouk’s love affair with Basquiat in elegant, spare, riveting prose…A powerful female coming of age story…A harrowing, beautifully told love story about two seekers colliding in a pivotal moment in history, and setting everything, including themselves, on fire.”—Rebecca Walker for NPR

“Magical…Widow Basquiat conjures real characters, a real time and real place.  It’s not theory – it’s representation. … The life of Basquiat … is a joyous lightning bolt when it is described in true detail, as it is in Clement’s extraordinary as-told-to poem.”  Glenn O’Brien, Artforum

“Stunningly lyrical…original, insightful, and engrossing…While filled with pop culture anecdotes art fans might seek—Andy Warhol and Rene Ricard both make appearances, for instance—Clement’s account is an honest love story above all else.” —Publishers Weekly

“A beautifully evocative, poetic memoir … Basquiat was aware of the criteria with which posterity would judge him. Widow Basquiat should be part of those criteria.”—The Herald 

“An engrossing narrative… Clement offers far more clues to the cryptic symbols which litter his [Basquiat’s] paintings than any art critic could.” —The Times

“A brilliant account of the relationship between Basquiat and his muse and lover … a compelling book that leaves a giant sized lump in the throat … Clement hypnotises us with a vivid portrait of Basquiat, powerfully evoking his inventiveness as an artist.” —Independent on Sunday

“Essential summer reading.'” —Vogue

“Powerful… this memoir has a kind of awesome beauty, despite the many unattractive aspects of Basquiat’s life.”  —The Bookseller

“Clement says she wanted the book to be ‘like a painting or a piece of music that came out of that time’. It comes pretty close. Poetic, full of funny, bizarre anecdotes, Widow Basquiat is the kind of book that makes you want to take the next flight to New York. There may be death in it, but it also has a sense of life that leaps off the page…it is also deeply romantic.”  —The Big Issue (Scotland)

“There is more than one way to write up an artist’s life. Straight with pictures or oblique, like this, full of poetic dashes, outs and slaps, diversions and secret glimpses…An unusual book, to say the least.”  —Buzz  

“A starkly beautiful elegy to a painter and high-strung muse, by a poet whose gossamer language morphs itself into shapes as jagged, disturbing and righteously angry as Basquiat’s work itself…Clement is a striking, spiky overseer and her poetry exists in economy instead of frugality: the bright, peeled-back eyes of someone who saw – and actually observed – everything.”  —i-D  

“An interesting take on the Basquiat legend”  —Uncut  

“With its simplicity and breathless rapidity Clement’s prose is reminiscent of Basquiat’s life and painting…an entertaining and poignant read.”  —City Life 

“Breathlessly recounted”  —The Big Issue  

“A beautifully evocative, poetic memoir…Basquiat was aware of the criteria with which posterity would judge him. Widow Basquiat should be part of those criteria.”  —The Herald

“For a man so poorly served by his biopic, this subtle portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat and his muse Suzanne Mallouk proves to be a more fitting tribute. Widow Basquiat, with an almost alarming simplicity, brilliantly manages to conjure up all the pain and tenderness of their relationship and the narcissistic and narcotic world they inhabited.”  —Travis Elborough, Waterstone’s Online

Widow Basquiat had an immediacy and urgency that often feels like voyeurism … a fascinating peak into two lives on the cusp of great change. Recommended.”  —The Crack