Basquiat: Boom for Real

Barbican Art Gallery
21 September 2017 – 28 January 2018

Untitled, 1982 © Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the late 1970s in the post-punk underground art scene in downtown New York. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta 7 in Kassel. His vibrant, raw imagery, abounding with fragments of bold capitalised text, offers insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young black artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK.

Bringing together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, writing, performance, film and television, placing him within the wider cultural context of the time.

Basquiat first came to the media’s attention in 1978, when he teamed up with his classmate Al Diaz to graffiti enigmatic statements across the city under the collective pseudonym SAMO© (a contraction of ‘same old, same old shit’). He collaborated with other artists, most famously with Andy Warhol, created murals and installations for notorious New York nightclubs including the Mudd Club, Area and Palladium, and in 1983 produced ‘Beat Bop’, a classic hip hop record with K-Rob and Rammellzee.

Highlights of this Barbican’s exhibition include a partial reconstruction of Basquiat’s first body of exhibited work, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York / New Wave at P.S.1 in February 1981. Fifteen works are brought together for the first time in over 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of fellow artists and critics.




巴斯奎特在1978年首次為媒體所關注,當時他和同學阿爾·迪亞茲的合作以“SAMO©”為名,在紐約各地塗鴉神秘的宣言。他還和其他藝術家合作過,其中最有名的有安迪·沃霍爾,還為臭名昭著的紐約夜總會,包括穆德俱樂部、地域俱樂部和帕拉斯神像俱樂部,創作壁畫和裝置作品。在1983年他還與K-Rob和Rammellzee創作了《Beat Bop》,一張經典的嘻哈音樂唱片。





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