A superbly produced retrospective on the luminous career of Jean-Michel Basquiat
The first African-American artist to attain art superstardom, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) created a huge oeuvre of drawings and paintings (Julian Schnabel recalls him once accidentally leaving a portfolio of about 2,000 drawings on a subway car) in the space of just eight years. Through his street roots in graffiti, Basquiat helped to establish new possibilities for figurative and expressionistic painting, breaking the white male stranglehold of Conceptual and Minimal art, and foreshadowing, among other tendencies, Germany's Junge Wilde
movement. It was not only Basquiat's art but also the details of his biography that made his name legendary--his early years as "Samo" (his graffiti artist moniker), his friendships with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Madonna and his tragically early death from a heroin overdose. This superbly produced retrospective publication assesses Basquiat's luminous career with commentary by, among others, Glenn O'Brien, and 160 color reproductions of the work. Jean-Michel Basquiat
was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Puerto Rican mother and a Haitian father--an ethnic mix that meant young Jean-Michel was fluent in French, Spanish and English by the age of 11. In 1977, at the age of 17, Basquiat took up graffiti, inscribing the landscape of downtown Manhattan with his signature "Samo." In 1980 he was included in the landmark group exhibition The Times Square Show
; the following year, at the age of 21, Basquiat became the youngest artist ever to be invited to Documenta. By 1982, Basquiat had befriended Andy Warhol, later collaborating with him; Basquiat was much affected by Warhol's death in 1987. He died of a heroin overdose on August 22, 1988, at the age of 27.
About the Author
Glenn O'Brien (1947-2017) was one of the most widely read and influential magazine writer-editors of the last fifty years and was a hall-of-fame copy - writer and creative director whose ads are ingrained in popular culture. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, O'Brien studied at Georgetown University and Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts. After college, he joined Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, which he helped shape over his 20-year association. He wrote regular columns in publications including Artforum, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, Paper, Purple, and Spin, and was widely read on the subjects of art, fashion, and music. Beloved as GQ's "Style Guy", his witty advice column was syndicated in GQ editions around the world. O'Brien's wrote dozens of books, including 2011's best-selling How to Be A Man, published in six countries.
Dieter Buchhart is a curator who has created many large-scale exhibitions in renowned international museums.