Monday, April 5, 2010

Jean Michel Basquiat

(Basquiat and Warhol)

Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was born in Brooklyn, son of a Puerto Rican mother and Haitian father. Basquiat was artistic from a young age, and got involved in graffiti while he was in high school. He dropped out of high school before finishing, worked several jobs, and sold items on the streets of New York. Basquiat became known in a certain art circle, and began getting local press coverage of himself, his lifestyle, and his art.

By the early 1980s, he was showing his work in galleries in SoHo as one of the New York artists in the neo-expressionist movement, along with Julian Schnabel, David Salle, and Francesco Clemente. He dated Madonna in the early 1980s, and then he met Andy Warhol, with whom he associated and collaborated for years. In 1985, he was on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.

Basquiat was a drug addict, and that addiction eventually took over and then ended his life. He died of an overdose at the age of 27.


After his death, some major museums in the U.S. have had exhibitions of his work. The Whitney had an exhibition in 1992, and Brooklyn Museum had an exhibition in 2005. After his death, his art developed a serious following, and some of his pieces have been sold for millions of dollars. Among other sellers, Christies has auctioned off Basquiat paintings for prices from $3.0 million to $16.0 million.

Here's a link to the Brooklyn Museum website about their exhibition of Basquiat's work:


In 1996, Julian Schnabel directed a film about Basquiat's life, entitled "Basquiat." Basquait has also been the subject of other films as well as several books of poetry.

In the Julian Schnabel film "Basquait," Jeffrey Wright plays the title character, and David Bowie plays Andy Warhol. Courtney Love, Christopher Walken, Benicio del Torre and Dennis Hopper also have roles. I liked the movie.

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