A Closer Look at Jean Michel Basquiat

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The American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, has made his mark in the world of contemporary art. A member of the Neo-expressionist movement, Basquiat rose to fame in the 1980s. His work is widely regarded as revolutionary, cutting-edge, and uncompromising. Here are just a few of the many works that highlight his life and work. Let’s dive into each one of these categories to get a better understanding of his work.

Artist
Born in New York City, Jean Michel Basquiat became famous in the early 1980s for his work. He first exhibited under the name Basquiat in the basement of the Nosei gallery. These works were dominated by heavy oil stick marks and one anguished head. Some consider these pieces to be self-portraits. Others, however, believe that these are merely self-expressions.

In the early 1980s, Basquiat became famous and made his mark on the art world. Although he was tragically cut short, his art has left a lasting impact on the art world. In a matter of eight years, the artist became a 20th century icon. Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Haitian and Puerto Rican parents. His parents encouraged his interest in the arts and his talent for art grew rapidly. His mother taught him French and Spanish and made him learn English and French at an early age. As a young child, he showed talent in art and started drawing with his friends.

Street artist
A legendary street artist from the 1970s, Jean Michael Basquiat is best known for his ‘Defacement’ work. This piece commemorated the shooting of a young Black artist named Michael Stewart by New York City Transit Police. The Guggenheim Museum in New York recently featured this painting as the centerpiece of an exhibition, ‘Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story’. Curated by Chaedri LaBouvier, this show explored the history of the painting and its impact on the artist and the community.

While attending City-as School on Manhattan’s West Side, Basquiat was exposed to art and was influenced by the works of established graffiti artists such as Al Diaz. He also became fascinated by the illustrations of Gray’s Anatomy after a friend’s graduation. These experiences would shape his work in the future. Andradas died of a stroke in 1984, but Basquiat continued to create art, making money off of his paintings.

Celebrity
The famous American artist Jean Michael “Baby Face” grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Born to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother, he had a typical middle-class upbringing. His parents separated when he was young and he was raised by his mother. His mother, an alcoholic, committed Basquiat to a mental institution when he was eleven. He grew up a rebellious boy, often throwing shaving cream over his principal during graduation ceremonies. He was bullied by his classmates, but he was able to overcome his early adolescent troubles by making friends with people of all races and nationalities.

In a bizarre turn of events, he was hit by a car while playing stickball outside of his Brooklyn home. Although he was only 21 years old, Basquiat quickly gained fame and fortune. When he was only 21, a taxi would not stop for him. So, his mother bought him a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, a book about human anatomy. Basquiat said it helped him visualize his own body.

Mixed-race artist
Throughout his life, Jean Michael Basquiat consciously adapted everyday language to make his political and cultural messages more accessible. Basquiat’s juxtapositions reveal latent power structures and produce ironies that elicit a menacing sense of arbitrariness in contemporary social discourse. As a mixed-race artist, Basquiat aimed to elicit a similar reaction from viewers as he did from viewers of his art. One of his most well-known works, “Untitled (Rinso), features a mixed-race male protagonist with a crown. This is not to suggest that Basquiat was a racist, but he did use racial slurs to make his point.

While Basquiat’s father immigrated to the United States from Haiti in search of a better life, he remained distant from his Haitian roots. The artist’s father preferred his family to be considered French and showed little interest in his Haitian heritage. Nevertheless, Basquiat enjoyed a comfortable middle-class life, where he was well-read and exposed to the rich art collections of New York. In his art, Basquiat sought inspiration from the masters of Western art.

Stylized self-portraits
Most artists have painted a self-portrait, but it can be difficult to know which of the many paintings of this artist to include in your curriculum. The most successful self-portraits of all time, including many of Basquiat’s works, are often recognizable, but they also tell a story. Students can begin their studies of Basquiat by considering a photograph of him and imagining what traits he might have in his painting.

The artist’s style is remarkably muscular, and the artist has often incorporated symbols and codes of all kinds into his paintings. These symbols can be text, logos, pictograms, or maps. He used this imagery to express himself in a compelling manner. He was one of the first artists to use color Xerox machines, and his early style echoes that era.

Influence of Rauschenberg
As an artist, Robert Rauschenberg was an important influence on Basquiat’s early work. When he visited the Los Angeles studio of his mentor, he was amazed by the works he saw. He was also influenced by the work of fellow New Yorker and artist, Annina Nosei. She became his wife in 1984 and met the two men in 1980. Rauschenberg is also a prolific muralist.

As a child, Jackson Pollock was highly intelligent and was fluent in English, French, and Spanish. He attended a private school called Saint Ann’s when he was eleven years old. At age thirteen, his mother was committed to a mental institution. Jean Michel Basquiat dropped out of school and lived between the houses of friends in Brooklyn. He supported himself by selling homemade postcards and t-shirts.

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