Basquiat: Boom For Real
Emerging from New York’s punk scene in the 1970s, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s status as a key artist from the decade has gained fast momentum. Not only had he come to prominence for his graffiti art under the moniker SAMO that took over the East Village, but Banquet had been linked to the likes of Madonna and Andy Warhol during his short years before his heroin overdose in 1988. Barbican celebrates the last artist and his influence on contemporary culture with the first large-scale exhibition that holds over 100 of his works under one roof.
Swiftly rising to fame during the Neo-Expressionism art movement that became internationally embraced for its counter-culture motifs, Basquiat’s colourful art became instantly recognisable for its powerful messages. Paintings included phrases such as ‘JIMMY BEST ON HIS BACK TO THE SUCKER PUNCH OF HIS CHILDHOOD FLIES’, ‘Gangsterism’, ‘Hollywood Africans’ which reflected to the then new wave movement in Manhattan. The most iconic of them all was SAMO – same old shit – a persona for which he was also known as.
This exhibition titled Basquiat: Boom For Real, features not only his prolific works of art but also explores the creative influences behind his large-scale paintings. Referencing a large range of subjects from science, politics to art history, his arresting artworks speak to his upbringing and experiences as a disadvantaged black man, which to this day, still resonates deeply. Aptly named ‘boom for real’ his visceral paintings will pulse out against the walls. Basquiat: Boom for Real runs until January 28 at the Barbican Art Gallery.