Jean-Michel Basquiat: Post-Punk Prodigy
Jean-Michel Basquiat was an artist in the most plural sense. Commonly misunderstood as just a 'graffiti artist', or a painter, Basquiat was also a musician, DJ, actor and performance artist.
On the occasion of the Barbican's major Basquiat exhibition, which ran between September 2017 and January 2018, curator Eleanor Nairne exposes how Basquiat's multidisciplinary nature springs from his profound engagement with a broad range of source material, from trashy TV, to philosophy, to media representations of black experience.
Nairne unpicks some of the fertile references which feature in canvases by the pioneering prodigy of the 1980s downtown New York art scene. She discusses how Basquiat could have brought these disparate sources together to critique and shed new light on the world around him.
Could the webs of references which feature in Basquiat's works parallel our contemporary experience of the digital age?
Eleanor Nairne is Curator at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, where her exhibitions include 'Lee Krasner: Living Colour' (2019-20) and 'Basquiat: Boom for Real' (2017-18). She is a regular catalogue writer, a contributor to publications including The London Review of Books and frieze and is a former Jerwood Writer in Residence.
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