Jean-Michel Basquiat

 
Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on Dec. 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, New York. His mother was a Puerto Rican named Matilde Andrades Basquiat and a Haitian-American father Gérard Basquiat who was an accountant. He spoke 3 languages: French, Spanish, and English. His brother Max died shortly before Basquiat’s birth, making him the eldest besides his 2 sisters Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat.
Mecca 1982
When he was 7 Basquiat experienced a life-changing event when he was hit by a car while playing in the street and lost his spleen as a result. He recovered in a hospital and read the book "Gray's Anatomy". This resulted in the formation of his experimental rock band Gray in 1979. Matilde took young Basquiat to art exhibits and also helped him become a junior member of the Brooklyn Museum. Basquiat’s father brought home paper from this accounting firm that Jean-Michel used for his drawings. His parents separated and his mother became ill and therefore his father was given custody of the children. His father kicked his son out when Jean-Michel was dropped out of Edward R. Murrow High School. This forced Jean-Michel to grow up quick and starting a career as a painter.
SAMO graffiti
He began to gain attention as a graffiti artist. Using the name SAMO, short for "Same Old Sh*t". Basquiat and his friend Al Diaz painted graffiti on Manhattan buildings that contained anti-establishment messages. The press noticed their messages but finally Basquiat and Al Diaz broke up as a duo. The graffiti message “SAMO is dead" was painted on countless New York building facades to underline their brake up.
Untitled 1982
By 1980 Basquiat had become a well known artist. He participated in his first group exhibition “The Times Square Show” that year. A second group exhibition at the non-profit PS1/Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc in 1981 was his breakthrough. This led to an article written about him “The Radiant Child” in Artforum magazine. He was influenced by punk, hip-hop, Pablo Picasso, Cy Twombly, Leonardo da Vinci and Robert Rauschenberg as well as his own Caribbean heritage. Basquiat's message focused on anti-racism. He painted both the transatlantic slave trade and the Egyptian slave trade in his works.
Notary 1983
By the mid-1980s Basquiat was collaborating with famed artist Andy Warhol on art exhibitions. In 1986 he became the youngest artist to exhibit work in Germany’s Kestner-Gesellschaft Gallery. Where about 60 of his paintings were shown. In his 20's he became addicted to heroin and toward the end of his life he cut himself off from society. He went to Hawaii in an attempt to stop using heroin. After returning to New York he died at the age of 27 of an overdose in 1988. This gave him a him a spot in the dubious "27 Club" whose other members include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and later, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. They all died at age 27.
Paramount 1985 (with Andy Warhol)
Liberty 1983
Nowadays his artworks are sold for thousands of dollars.
 

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