Jean-Michel Basquiat

"I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is."
Jean-Michel Basquiat is regarded as an innovative and unique artist who’s off the wall style made him one of the most famous artists the world has ever seen. Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 22, 1960. Jean-Michel was a bright child who learned how to read and write by age four and was already a gifted artist. Basquiat dropped out of high school in tenth grade, shortly after that, his father banished him from the household and Basquiat stayed with friends in Brooklyn. He supported himself by selling t-shirts and homemade post cards as well as by working at the Unique Clothing Warehouse in Manhattan, New York. In 1976, Basquiat began spray painting on buildings in Lower Manhattan where he used pseudonym SAMO to sign his work. The 80’s were a pivotal time for Jean-Michel’s career. In 1980, Rene Ricard published “The Radiant Child” in Artforum magazine, which brought Basquiat to the attention of the art world. That same year, a man named Glenn O’Brien introduced Jean-Michel to Andy Warhol; their relationship flourished, Andy would often have Jean help with his paintings by adding his own signature flare, the results were always mesmerizing. In 1981 Basquiat joined the Annina Nosei gallery in SoHo, New York and five years later, in 1986, he appeared on the cover of the New York Times magazine. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life began to spiral out of control in 1987 after the death of his best friend and fellow artist, Andy Warhol. Unfortunately, on August 12, 1988, Jean-Michel passed away and the world lost a talented man. Basquiat’s glory lives on to this day; a documentary film about his life was made by director Tamra Davis, the two met in 1985. The first version was a 20-minute film, which was shown at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The feature length documentary, released in 2010, includes interviews with people who were close to Basquiat. Just recently, in May of this year, the piece titled “Untitled” sold at auction for staggering $110.5 million, breaking the record for most expensive art piece sold by a US artist. Although Jean-Michel Basquiat is gone, he will most certainly never be forgotten.
"Untitled" (1982)
Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat "Paramount" (1984-85)