Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York.He attended high school in New York at “City As School”, but dropped out a year before graduating. By 1979, Basquiat had gained a certain celebrity status amidst the thriving art scene of Manhattan’s East Village through his regular appearances on Glenn O’Brien’s live public-access cable show, TV Party. He later formed a band called Gray, with Shannon Dawson, Michael Holman, Nick Taylor & Wayne Clifford. Basquiat first started to gain recognition as an artist in June 1980, when he participated in The Times Square Show, a multi-artist exhibition, sponsored by Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab).By 1982, Basquiat was showing regularly, and alongside Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi, became part of what was called the Neo-expressionist movement. [wikipedia]

Fallen Angel, 1981

Untitled (Boxer), 1982

Far from grafitti, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s works were considered paintings and were associated with those of the Italian transavantgarde (he would go on to collaborate with painters Francesco Clemente and Andy Warhol). Photocopied colours were applied on the canvas in some places, while in others dark and grotesque figures were drawn, along with words or formulas, more or less decipherable signs intersecting with harsh colours. Quotations extracted from the media were written, autobiographical fragments also appeared (the crown of SAMO), and elements were borrowed from voodoo cult (assertion of “negritude”).


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