The Artist Birthday Series

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat: painter

Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist. He first achieved notoriety as part of SAMO©, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s where the hip hop, post-punk, and street art movements had coalesced. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his Neo-Expressionist paintings in galleries and museums internationally. The instant fame and wealth took a toll on the sensitive young man, who was to succumb to the weight of his success and pass away tragically, at the age of 27.

1986, New York, New York, USA - Image by © William Coupon/CORBIS
1986, New York, New York, USA – Image by © William Coupon/CORBIS

Basquiat’s work focused on “suggestive dichotomies”, such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience, He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.


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