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If you haven’t already

by Nicole Chaput

jeanmichel-basquiat-en-el-guggenheim-bilbao-min

It is summer and it is hot. It seems that staying in watching Netflix is a better option than going out and dealing with sweat, a crowd of tourists and melting cement. But Basquiat’s work is on display and that seems like a good enough reason to leave your air conditioned room and save your favorite TV shows for later.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was one of the most revolutionary artists of Western Art History despite his unconventional background. There are many anecdotes about young Basquiat and his somber childhood, his graffiti years and his struggles with drugs. Roberta Smith says: “His talent was too undeniable, his art too accessible and — for better and worse — his story, as a young, black, self-taught prodigy, too inspiring, despite its tragic end,” demonstrating how his background nurtured him as a cultural figure and as an artist. The Brooklyn based artist developed his own artistic language composed of symbols, images and text and was influenced by comics, advertising, children’s drawings, politics, hip hop, pop art and ephemeral life. By the 80’s, Basquiat was exhibiting in Paris and Africa simultaneously: his artistic success was undeniable. Yet, in 1988, at age 27, Basquiat dies of an overdose, leaving only his evident and sparkling originality and his strong, unique voice. Today, Basquiat’s legacy endures and his influence is still strong among contemporary artists. The original and unique visual language he developed is still something many artists hope to achieve.

His work is currently on display at The Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim Bilbao.


The Brooklyn Museum: Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks

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The show is composed of 160 pages from eight notebooks inLarry Warsh’ collection, which had never been shown before. The Unknown Notebooks emphasize the distinct interplay of text and images in Basquiat’s art, providing unprecedented insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process.

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Ends: August 23, 2015.


 

Guggenheim Bilbao: Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time

Jean-Michel-Basquiat-UNTITLED-1982-Boijmans-cropped-Zoom

An explorations of the themes in Basquiat’s groundbreaking art and features some 100 paintings and drawings.

Ends: November 1, 2015.

 

Game of Thrones can wait.

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