The legend ofJean-Michel Basquiatis as strong as ever.Synonymous with New York in the 1980s, the artist first appeared in the late 1970s under the tag SAMO, spraying caustic comments and fragmented poems on the walls of the city. He appeared aspart of a thriving underground scene of visual arts and graffiti, hip hop, post-punk, and DIY filmmaking, which met in a booming art world. As a painter with a strong personal voice, Basquiat soon broke into the established milieu, exhibiting in galleries around the world.
Basquiat’s expressive style was based onraw figures and integrated words and phrases. His work is inspired by a pantheon of luminaries from jazz, boxing, and basketball, with references to arcane history and the politics of street life—so when asked about his subject matter, Basquiat answered “royalty, heroism and the streets.” In 1983 he started collaborating with the most famous of art stars,Andy Warhol, and in 1985 was on the cover ofThe New York Times Magazine. When Basquiat died at the age of 27, he had becomeone of the most successful artists of his time.
This book allows an unprecedented insight into Basquiat’s art, with pristine reproductions ofhis most seminal paintings,drawings,and notebook sketches. In large-scale format, the book offersvivid proximityto Basquiat’s intricate marks and scribbled words, further illuminated by an introduction to the artist from editorHans Werner Holzwarth, as well as an essay on his themes and artistic development from curator and art historianEleanor Nairne. Richly illustrated year-by-year chapter breaks follow the artist’s life and quote from his own statements and contemporary reviews to provide both personal background and historical context.
Hans Werner Holzwarthis a book designer and editor specializing in contemporary art and photography. His TASCHEN publications include the Collector’s EditionsJeff Koons,Christopher Wool,Albert Oehlen,Ai Weiwei, and the David Hockney SUMOA Bigger Book, as well as monographs like the XXL-sizedJean-Michel Basquiat.
Eleanor Nairneis a curator at the Barbican Art Gallery. She has worked on a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions and publications, includingBasquiat: Boom for Real(2017) andImran Qureshi: Where the Shadows are so Deep(2016). Prior to the Barbican, she was curator of the Artangel Collection at Tate. She is a regular catalogue essayist, a writer forfrieze, and a previous Jerwood Writer in Residence.