Recent attention has been paid to the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat following the record breaking sale of his work ‘Untitled’ last month. The work sold for over $110 million (£85 million) to Yusaka Maezawa, an unprecedented price tag for any American artist. Prior to this year the last recorded sale of the work dates back to 1984 where it was sold at Christies for $19,000. The polychromatic canvas is dominated by a skull and resembles the artist’s experimental and unique style.
The artist led a remarkable life, he was born in Brooklyn in 1960 with diverse cultural roots, his father was from Haiti and his mother was Puerto Rican, in his works it is clear that he explores the significance of Afro-American identity in America. He began his career as a street artist in Greenwich Village during the ‘punk’ era. The artist networked closely with celebrities of his age, notably Andy Warhol and David Bowie. The 1996 film Basquiat is a biographical story that gives us an insight on the artist’s short, sad, yet fascinating life. I would really recommend the film as after initially watching it I was inspired to find out more about the figure and to explore his paintings.
It is surprising considering the sensation of the artist that there has never been a public exhibition celebrating the figure in the UK, however this is soon to change!! Very excitingly the Barbican will be bringing together a large collection of his works in the exhibition Basquiat’s Boom for Real. This exhibition will be on from the 21st September 2017 – 28th January 2018 and this is certainly a date to put in your diary as it is an unusual opportunity to see many works that have never been seen in the UK before. Buy your tickets from this link https://www.barbican.org.uk/eticketing/performancelist.asp?shoid=41194&q=3ec9bcae-4166-4b0a-86e8-4ea4ec6e9c1c&p=57290969-9d94-4a77-8948-4b916d916b30&ts=1498057431&c=barbican&e=barbicanqueue50&rt=Safetynet&h=312246f41f3f36d9cd788e60d1eb499b