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Jean-Michel Basquiat Art Prints

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat (22 December 1960 - 12 August 1988) was a major part of the art scene in the eighties. He originally was noticed for his involvement in the graffiti movement of the late seventies where he, along with companion Al Diaz, went by the tag SAMO. In 1981, Rene Ricard published the first major article on Jean-Michel in Artforum Magazine titled "The Radiant Child." This acted as a catalyst to his career. This same artist that was spray-painting quotes throughout New York was now considered a serious fine artist. Basquiat wanted to be thought of as a fine artist rather than anything to do with "graffiti." He admired artists like Cy Twombly, Franz Kline, and Jean Dubuffet. Some people have a hard time with his work. They find it too primitive or childish. Madonna called him lover and Andy Warhol called him friend. Thelma Golden gave him a job. For the old school art critics like Stanley Crouch, Hilton Kramer, Robert Hughes, he was just a graffiti artist (which he always denied) that never learned how to draw. But Basquiat’s Mojo broke their power. How facinating for a high school dropout to break the system, live like Picasso, and die like Jimmy Hendrix or Bird at twenty-seven. Even now, according to cultural critic Greg Tate, “the art world is looking for another Basquiat, another black artist that can… reach the bourgeois and still rock the boulevard.” However, the question remains: How did a teenage street artist go from tagging walls to an international art star, becoming the highest-paid black visual artist in history, in only eight years? Thousands of educated, degree-toting or self-taught black artists linger outside of the system. What did Basquiat know? Tragically, Jean-Michel died from a drug overdose, as his health had been declining for some time, from becoming more and more involved with the deadly mix of combining heroin and cocaine. He left behind a wealth of paintings and drawings that continue to move and impress the public and critics alike.

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