A few months ago, or perhaps several months ago, December 2020, Jean-Michel Basquiat, a massively influential contemporary artist would have celebrated his 60th birthday. Unfortunately, he passed in 1988 at the age of 27 years; a drug overdose .. nevertheless, his influence continues to grow.
Basquiat, of Haitian and Latino descent, painted and exhibited his work widely throughout the 1980s. In the late 1970s, he started out as a graffiti artist; then moved to painting on floors, walls, furnishings, doors and found objected; and he created books and postcards.
After his move to gallery showings, starting in 1980, his work eventually became a sensation internationally. As a New York artist, he met and became friends with Andy Warhol in 1982. During his brief lifespan, Basquiat created hundreds of drawings, numerous paintings, and a multiple of mixed sculpture and mixed media works. He incorporated written text on his canvases, some of which were multi-paneled. His cultural influences, which was reflected in his work, included socio/political concerns, historical reflection, African-American iconology, and critique of contemporary values and mores. His artistic work was consistently contemporary and abstract.
Basquiat’s enduring legacy is overtly obvious in the recent demand for his art work. In May 2017, one of his painting sold for $110 million dollars at a Sotheby’s art auction; which set a record. Other works by the artist have also sold for millions of dollars.
His legacy is equally apparent in contemporary popular culture. Several important books, and a graphic novel, about this life and his work, have appeared in the past 25 years. Three separate film documentaries surfaced in the 2000s and a gritty though excellent biographic film, titled Basquiat, was released in 1996.
in January, of this year 2021, the Orchestre National de France in Paris performed the world premiere of Pascal Zavaro’s Violin Concerto which featured violinist Julia Fischer. The concerto was directly inspired by Basquiat’s artistic work.