Boom For Real Jean Michel Basquiat at The Barbican

Basquiat: Boom for Real at the Barbican

Jean Michel Basquiat’s standout style and the misfit character he portrays have always caught my attention. His graffiti-style art, pop colours and his short-lived career as an Afro-Caribbean artist growing up in New York’s punk scene made him one of the most significant artist of the 20th century. Boom For Real at The Barbican showcases evidence of how Basquiat overloaded himself with source material: TV, books, newspapers, encyclopaedias, jazz music— all these feeding his creative energy to create murals, rap performances and anatomical drawings filled with symbolism that offered a critique to the social treatment his black musician heroes endured. It was his poetic graffiti that made him standout in a graffiti-covered NYC.

Born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat was a young artist with no formal training who fought against the racial prejudice of his time. In 1978 he had the courage to approach Andy Warhol in Soho and sell him one of his handmade postcards, just one year after inventing his alter ego SAMO© (Same Old Shit). In 1981 Basquiat’s work was shown at PS1 and by 1984 he was already making collaborative paintings with pop-star hero, Warhol. Definitely an exhibition not to be missed.

Boom For Real  at The Barbican Until 28 Jan