Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988)

Basquiat was an artist known for his street-art style paintings informed by his life. He rose to influence as a regular figure in the downtown New York art and club scene. Basquiat was fascinated with fame, stardom, and the tolls that they can take, and would go on to become one of the first stars of the contemporary art world. He was known for his gestural, vibrational canvases covered in crossed-out text, anatomical sketches, skeletal figures, crowns, and other motifs that combine Basquiat’s inner process with aspects of culture, history, power, racism, class struggle, and colonialism.

Basquiat started in the graffiti scene of New York, but broke out quickly into the art world. At 21, he became the youngest artist to exhibit at Documenta and the Whitney Biennial. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York held a retrospective of his work in 1992, and his work is in many major collections, including an extensive presentation at the Broad in Los Angeles.