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(1960 – 1988), USA

Jean-Michel Basquiat Biography

Born in Brooklyn in 1960, Basquiat was a graffiti artist and musician. He first achieved notoriety as part of SAMO, an informal group of young people who tagged mysterious epigrams in the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s.

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From his early years, he was fascinated with stardom and in particular Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin. In his late teens he began to sell T-shirts and postcards.

He painted on just about anything he could find: refrigerator, laboratory coats, cardboard boxes and doors. After SAMO disbanded in 1979 he turned his focus to painting which displayed a combination of Abstract Expressionism and Graffiti Art.

They focused on aspects of contemporary culture and featured baseball players, the Kennedy assassination and consumer items such as Pez sweets. His art was exhibited publicly for the first time as part of a group exhibition called the Times Square Show.

The show represented the merging of two very distinct subcultures: the Downtown avant-garde consisting of Neo-Pop and the Uptown avant-garde of rap and graffiti in hip hop culture. In the early 1980s he befriended Andy Warhol and the two artists, both with an interest in representing aspects of contemporary culture, collaborated on a number of works. Basquiat combined Aztec, African, and Roman and Greek imagery, with his own unique iconography. Basquiat's legacy lies in his ability to bridge the gap between graffiti and the gallery. He died of a drug overdose in 1988.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Head) by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatUntitled (Head), 1983Graphite and oilstick on paper
99.7 x 70.5 cm
Lévy Gorvy Enquire about this work
PREE by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatPREE, 1985Oilstick, graphite and coloured pencil on paper
74.9 x 106 cm
Cheim & Read Enquire about this work
UNTITLED by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatUNTITLED, 1986Graphite, coloured pencil, and oilstick on paper
106.7 x 75.9 cm
Cheim & Read Enquire about this work
UNTITLED (SCAPULA) by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatUNTITLED (SCAPULA), 1983Coloured oilsticks on paper
55.9 x 76.2 cm
Cheim & Read Enquire about this work
Untitled (Triptych) by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatUntitled (Triptych), 1981Graphite on paper, unique
45.7 x 61 cm
Gallery Fifty One Enquire about this work
Untitled (Two Heads on Gold) by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatUntitled (Two Heads on Gold), 1982Acrylic and oil paintstick on canvas,
203.2 x 317.5 cm
Gagosian Enquire about this work
Le Hara by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatLe Hara, 1981Acrylic and oil paintstick on canvas,
212.5 x 183 cm
Gagosian Enquire about this work
Untitled (Julius Caesar on Gold) by Jean-Michel Basquiat contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel BasquiatUntitled (Julius Caesar on Gold), 1981Acrylic and oil paintstick on canvas,
127 x 127 cm
Gagosian Enquire about this work

Jean-Michel Basquiat Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Robert Fraser’s Groovy Arts Club Band at Gazelli Art House, London
Closed
11 January–23 February 2019 Group Exhibition Robert Fraser’s Groovy Arts Club Band Gazelli Art House, London

Jean-Michel Basquiat In Ocula Magazine

London Auction Sales Down Despite $30m Hockney Splash Ocula News London Auction Sales Down Despite $30m Hockney Splash London, 18 February 2020

The third highest price fetched by Hockney at auction contributed to over US $500 million in sales.

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Dr Dieter Buchhart Ocula Conversation Dr Dieter Buchhart By Stephanie Bailey, London

Curator and scholar Dr Dieter Buchhart is the co-curator of the Barbican's current exhibition, Basquiat: Boom for Real (21 September 2017–28 January 2018), alongside Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne. Organised in collaboration with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and with the support of the Basquiat Exhibition Circle and the Basquiat family, the...

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Jean-Michel Basquiat In Related Press

Painting From the 1980s, When Brash Met Flash Related Press Painting From the 1980s, When Brash Met Flash 12 February 2017, The New York Times

In New York at the end of the 1970s, many people thought painting was all washed up. And if not washed up, it had to be abstract—the more austere, unemotional and geometric, the better. Then came the 1980s and a generation of young painters, like Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Eric Fischl, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, and...

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The first major UK Basquiat exhibition is coming Related Press The first major UK Basquiat exhibition is coming 6 October 2016, Dazed

Jean Michel-Basquiat is a name synonymous with New York’s art scene in the 80s. A cultural movement so strong that memories of it have become mythological. It’s surprisingly then that not a single work of the art prodigy’s is held in a public UK collection. There has also, in the 28 years since his death, never been a major...

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Basquiat’s former home and studio gets a permanent plaque Related Press Basquiat’s former home and studio gets a permanent plaque 16 July 2016, Hyperallergic

Yesterday, a permanent plaque was unveiled outside the former home and studio of Jean-Michel Basquiat at 57 Great Jones Street in Manhattan. The marker is part of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s (GVSHP) Historic Plaque Program, a partnership with local pizza business Two Boots. Basquiat lived and worked in the...

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Paving The Way For Artists Related Press Paving The Way For Artists 10 December 2014, Lee Woo-young for the Korea Herald / 5 December 2014

On display in the private office of Lee Hyun-sook on the top floor of her gallery in Seoul are items from some of the most significant contemporary exhibitions in Korea over the last couple of years. The small space overlooking Gyeongbokgung Palace is ultramodern, with a sculpture by Anish Kapoor, a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a glass...

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