An icon of 1980s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) first made his name under the graffiti tag "SAMO", before establishing his studio practice and catapulting to fast fame at the age of 20. Although his career lasted barely a decade, he remains a cult figure of artistic social commentary, and a trailblazer in the mediation of graffiti and gallery art. The Brooklyn export has had much attention from the likes of Jay Z and recently mentioned by Kevin Durant. Keep a look out for upcoming NBA collab!
Basquiat's work drew upon diverse sources and media to create an original and urgent artisticvocabulary, biting with critique against structures of power and racism. His practice merged abstraction and figuration, poetry and painting, while his influences spanned Greek, Roman, and African art, French poetry, jazz, and the work of artistic contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. The results are vivid, visceral mixtures of words, African emblems, cartoonish figures, daubs of bold colour, and beyond.
This book presents the artist's short but prolific career which continues to resonate to this day in its unique style and profound engagement with issues of integration and segregation, poverty and wealth.