AFRICA IS EVERYWHERE: Jean-Michel Basquiat

untitled (head) by jean-michel basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an influential American artist who achieved fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s, credited with bringing graffiti to the fine art world of painting alongside Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. Though Basquiat never finished high school, he grew up visiting the Brooklyn Museum of Art and took an interest in art from a young age. His early work consisted of tagging in downtown New York with his friend Al Diaz under the pseudonym SAMO©, and Basquiat later went on to create numerous collaborations with Pop Art icon Andy Warhol.

So, you want those graffiti artists arrested and stopped?

Basquiat is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement alongside Julian Schnabel andDavid Salle, with his politicized canvases blending African imagery and symbolism with the movement’s characteristic gestural marks and bright patches of color. Born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, NY, Basquiat spent his life working in New York until his death from a drug overdose on August 12, 1988, at the age of 27.

Text in green by John Berger, Harper’s Magazine, April 2011

4 thoughts on “AFRICA IS EVERYWHERE: Jean-Michel Basquiat

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