Synonymous with New York in the 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat first appeared in the late 1970s under the tag SAMO, spraying caustic comments and fragmented poems on the walls of the city. He appeared as part of a thriving underground scene of visual arts and graffiti, hip hop, post-punk and DIY filmmaking, which met in a booming art world. As a painter with a strong personal voice, Basquiat soon broke into the established milieu, exhibiting in galleries around the world.
Basquiat’s expressive style was based on raw figures and integrated words and phrases. His work is inspired by a pantheon of luminaries from jazz, boxing, and basketball, with references to arcane history and the politics of street life— Basquiat described his subject matter as “royalty, heroism and the streets.” In 1983 he started collaborating with the most famous of artist in New York, Andy Warhol, and in 1985 was on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. When Basquiat died at the age of 27, he had become one of the most successful artists of his time.
This book allows an unprecedented insight into Basquiat’s art, with reproductions of his seminal paintings, drawings and sketches. Richly illustrated, the book follows the artist’s life and quote from his own statements and contemporary reviews to provide both personal background and historical context.