Jean-Michel Basquiat

From Academic Kids

Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 1988) was an American artist born in Brooklyn, New York.

His mother, Matilde, was Puerto Rican and his father, Gerard, was of Haitian origin. At an early age, Basquiat was encouraged by his mother to draw, paint, and to participate in other art-related activities. When he was 17, he and his friend Al Diaz started spray painting on subway cars and slum buildings in Manhattan, adding his infamous signature of SAMO, meaning Same Old Shit. One year later, he and Diaz quit school one year before graduation, and survived by selling T-shirts and postcards. Some time in the next few years, his works became recognized as brilliant and in 1980, he began exhibiting his work around New York with the help of Keith Haring and Barbara Kruger.

In the earliest period, from 1980 to late 1982, Basquiat used painterly gestures on canvas, most often depicting skeletal figures and mask-like faces that expressed his obsession with mortality, and imagery derived from his street existence, such as automobiles, buildings, police, children's sidewalk, games and graffiti.

In 1983, Basquiat befriended Andy Warhol and the two made a number of collaborative works. Often, they discussed and disputed about the lacking African American art and literature. They also painted together, influencing each others' work. Many claimed that Andy Warhol was merely using Basquiat for some of his techniques and insight, but this was never based on much fact, just mere speculation. Their relationship ended when Warhol died in 1987.

A middle period from late 1982 to 1985 features multipanel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with writing, collage and seemingly unrelated imagery. These works reveal a strong interest in Basquiat's black and Hispanic identity and his identification with historical and contemporary black figures and events.

Many of his friends and his lovers showed a remarkable fear for his frequent drug abuse. Many believe because of this drug use, he developed a paranoia around many, including his close friends.

For years to come, he travelled to many places, including Africa, and his paintings were becoming very influential to the world. His style was avant garde - nervous, fierce and energetic.

Basquiat's art career is known for his three broad, though overlapping styles.

The last style, from about 1986 to Basquiat's death in 1988, displays a new type of figurative depiction, in a new painterly style, with different symbols, sources, and content.

Basquiat's character has also been represented in motion pictures. He has been portrayed by Jeffrey Wright in Basquiat, a bio-pic about the artist directed by Julian Schnabel, and he played himself in New York Beat Movie, Downtown 81, and Eat to the Beat.

Basquiat, addicted to heroin at the time, died of an overdose on August 12, 1988. He was 27 years old.

See also

External links

de:Jean-Michel Basquiat es:Jean-Michel Basquiat fr:Jean-Michel Basquiat nl:Jean-Michel Basquiat ja:ジャン・ミッシェル・バスキア pt:Jean-Michel Basquiat

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