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Jean-Michel Basquiat

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The legend of Jean-Michel Basquiat  is as strong as ever. Synonymous with New York in the 1980s, the artist  first appeared in the late 1970s under the tag SAMO, spraying caustic  comments and fragmented poems on the walls of the city. He appeared as  part of a thriving underground scene of visual arts and graffiti, hip  hop, post-punk, and DIY filmmaking, which met in a booming art world. As  a painter with a strong personal voice, Basquiat soon broke into the  established milieu, exhibiting in galleries around the world.

Basquiat’s  expressive style was based on raw figures and integrated words and  phrases. His work is inspired by a pantheon of luminaries from jazz,  boxing, and basketball, with references to arcane history and the  politics of street life―so when asked about his subject matter, Basquiat  answered “royalty, heroism and the streets.” In 1983 he started  collaborating with the most famous of art stars, Andy Warhol, and in  1985 was on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. When Basquiat died  at the age of 27, he had become one of the most successful artists of  his time.

This book allows an unprecedented insight into  Basquiat’s art, with pristine reproductions of his most seminal  paintings, drawings, and notebook sketches. In large-scale format, the  book offers vivid proximity to Basquiat’s intricate marks and scribbled  words, further illuminated by an introduction to the artist from editor  Hans Werner Holzwarth, as well as an essay on his themes and artistic  development from curator and art historian Eleanor Nairne. Richly  illustrated year-by-year chapter breaks follow the artist’s life and  quote from his own statements and contemporary reviews to provide both  personal background and historical context.


  • Hardcover :  500 pages 
  • Publisher :  TASCHEN (December 18, 2018) 
  • Product Dimensions :  12.32 x 3.19 x 18.35 inches