• Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar

  • Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jimmy Best, 1981. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar

  • Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982. Courtesy Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar

  • Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Glenn, 1984, Private collection. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar

  • Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hollywood Africans, 1983. Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris. Licensed by Artestar

  • Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. Jean-Michel Basquiat dancing at the Mudd Club, 1979. © Nicholas Taylor

  • Installation view of 'Basquiat: Boom For Real' at the Barbican Art Gallery. © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images. Left to right: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1983W&K –Wienerroither & Kohlbacher, Vienna. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar. Courtesy W&K –Wienerroither & Kohlbacher, Vienna. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self Portrait, 1984. Private collection.© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Story Jan 3, 2018 London

'Basquiat: Boom for Real' at the Barbican

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the late 1970s in the post-punk underground art scene in downtown New York. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta 7 in Kassel. His vibrant, raw imagery, abounding with fragments of bold capitalized text, offers insights into both his encyclopedic interests and his experience as a young black artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK; not a single work of his is held in a public collection. Drawing from international museums and private collections, Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never seen before in the UK.

Highlights of the Barbican’s exhibition include a partial reconstruction of Basquiat’s first body of exhibited work, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York / New Wave at P.S.1 in February 1981. Fifteen works are brought together for the first time in over 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of fellow artists and critics. The exhibition continues with an exploration of his energetic, often collaborative work as the prodigy of the downtown scene; from the birth of SAMO© to his relationship with Warhol. In the downstairs spaces, new scholarship sheds light on some of his most acclaimed paintings and drawings. A famously self-taught artist, Basquiat sampled from an extraordinary breadth of source material – from anatomical drawings to bebop jazz to silent film – but many of these reference points have remained relatively opaque until now. With the support of the Basquiat family, the curators have conducted extensive new research, which will allow these important works to be understood as never before.

Basquiat: Boom for Real is on view through January 28, 2018 at the Barbican Centre in London

Learn more about Jean-Michel Basquiat

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