Basquiat in 1980s New York

Watch out for line D wagons

Jean-Michel Basquiat's success is lightning-fast like everything that happens in the New York of the 80s, a city in turmoil that never sleeps. He was born in the Big Apple to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother. Between 1977 and 1980 he began to draw on the walls of the metropolis (graffiti) with Al Diaz, leaving aphorisms signed with the acronym SAMO (same old shit).

Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1980 will appear in a music video, “Blondie rapture”: on that occasion the singer Debbie Harry and her boyfriend Chris Stein buy her first painting for only 200 dollars. In the same year his first exhibition was set up, “Times square show”, which will bring it to the attention of the New York public. In a short time her life changed radically, she grew in fame and wealth, however she would never stop following her priorities: art, women, drugs. In 1983 Jean-Michel Basquiat begins to collaborate with Andy Warhol (met in 1981), who will be his father, friend and lover. When Warhol died in February 1987, Basquiat, increasingly devastated by drugs, was banned from attending the funeral.

His creativity is a continuous unraveling between absolute inertia and periods of sudden hyperactivity: it is no secret that some of his best works will be created under the influence of drugs, in the middle of the night. On August 12, 1988, in the Great Jones Street studio, the artist was found dead. Cause of death: overdose, he was only 27 years old.

Three curiosities:

Jean-Michel Basquiat likes to fill notebooks with poems, sketches and drawings of crowns and skeletons, from which the paintings will then take shape.

The Brooklyn Museum, with the artist's first monographic review, "Basquiat the unknown notebooks", will exhibit over 160 unpublished drawings taken from the notebook.

On your next trip to the Big Apple, remember that there are occasional writings by Basquiat on the D-line carriages and that the city still has trains running since 1978.

I close by talking about the artist's musical talent, which has nothing to do with his fleeting acquaintance with Madonna in '79. Basquiat forms a rock band under the name Gray, along with filmmakers Shannon Dawson and Michael Holman, and actor Vincent Gallo is involved. In 1983 he produced a rap single, "Beat pop", and took the opportunity of a collaboration with David Bowie.

The Author

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In the 90s I was engaged as a interior designer in the Middle East, where for almost 10 years I was commuting between Saudi Arabia, the United States and Europe, in all my projects, already at the time, I inserted a work of art as soon as possible. I decide to broaden the range of action by dealing with territorial analysis and communication to support companies that requested to enter new foreign markets. I have always had a passion for art and photography, since the Liceo Classico those two hours a week dedicated to the history of art, a little personal research, and subsequently the Faculty of Architecture have always pushed me towards this world. Today I am a strategic marketing consultant for companies.

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