Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of a handful of late-20th-century artists with near-universal name recognition.
Before his tragic death at 27, Basquiat helped define New York’s cultural landscape during a gritty-yet-glam moment between the funk and grime of the late 1970s and the money-hungry consumer culture that would dominate the 1980s.
Basquiat’s inimitable style was realized across an array of formats and media: Graphic street art, traditional portraiture, punk-edged postcards and large-scale murals. Pairing contemporary painting with a personal universe of symbols, numbers, words and diagrams, he devised a highly individualized style that stills feels valuable and relevant.
“His work is provocative — and causes you to dig deep and really think about what is on that page,” says his sister, Jeanine Heriveaux. “Jean-Michel painted about topics and opinions and issues that we, as a human family, are still grappling with today.”