Jean-Michel Basquiat // Leeches // 1982-1983/2017
Born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) first achieved notoriety as part of SAMO©, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his neo-expressionist paintings in galleries and museums internationally.
Basquiat’s art focused on “suggestive dichotomies”, such as wealth vs. poverty, integration vs. segregation, and inner vs. outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting— marrying text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique. Basquiat used social commentary in his paintings as a “springboard to deeper truths about the individual”, as well as attacks on power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle.
22 "L x 30 "H
- OriginUnited States
— Edition of 50
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