Was Basquiat just a meteor in the modern art world? He just kept on pushing boundaries by breaking into the modern, contemporary art world scene, a scene dominated by white western males. Breaking the rules was this tiny, elfish being whose inquisitive eyes were crowned by rebellious dreadlocks, questioning the rules of society, questioning the fabric of our civilization. From his puzzling messages tagged SAMO (same old, same old) on the dangerous, dirty streets of New York in the 70ies to becoming Andy Warhol’s protégé, painting ferociously in haute couture suits, his pattern has been meteoric, but his star was only crashed by a heroin overdose, aged just 27. A self-made, very political rock-n-roll star painter shaking the art world at its core. His paintings are uncomfortable statements, starting from his minimalist, painted diploma declaring his qualifications were not gained in conventional schools but on the streets of NY and devouring everything around him, the culture and the trash around him, along seminal books like the illustrated Gray’s Anatomy or Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings. Underestimated, the school of life explodes in his paintings, its injustices towards black artists exposed at every turn on canvases as large as life.
Basquiat Boom for Real, Barbican Art Gallery 28 October 2017