By: I. Maluf
Basquiat first achieved fame as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti duo who wrote short, satyrical messages in the Lower East Side Side during the late 1970s, where the hip hop, punk and street art movements were soaring and gaining recognition. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his neo-expressionist paintings in galleries and museums internationally.
Despite his work's "unstudied" and relatively childish appearance, Basquiat combined in his art various distinct methods and practices to create his unique and distinctive style. His main influences came from his urban origins and from his African-Caribbean heritage, helping shape his work immensely. Basquiat used his art as a "springboard to deeper truths about the individual”, as well as to criticize archaic power structures and racism. Also, his poetry was completely political and openly condemned colonialism and support for class struggle.
Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at his art studio when he was 27. His quick rise to fame and tragic death gave a face to the excessively commercial international art scene of the mid 1980s, and his story and fascinating, peculiar style still intrigues artists and audiences alike to this day.
Basquiat’s work is being exhibited in CCBB from 25/01 until 07/04. Make sure to visit the exhibition!