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Examine one of Jean-Michel Basquiat's graffiti inspired paintings

Modern Identities

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1960 to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother. In 1977, Basquiat, along with friend Al Diaz began spray painting philosophical poems on subway trains and around lower Manhattan, signing them with the improvised logo SAMOŠ (Same Old Shit). "SAMOŠ as an end to mindwash religion, nowhere politics, and bogus philosophy," "SAMOŠ saves idiots," "Plush safe he think; SAMOŠ ". Basquiat's art, which continued to be influenced by graffiti art, was exhibited for the first time in 1980 in a show sponsored by Colab (Collaborative Projects Incorporated). In his mixed media paintings, which drew subject matter from personal experiences, art history, African American history, politics and pop culture, Basquiat revealed his concerns about race and the African American condition. He often juxtaposed imagery with text to create a more powerful message. Basquiat once said "I would cross out words so you'll see them more. The fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them." Basquiat, an excessive drug user, died from a heroin overdose at the age of 27. Today he is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century.

Related Artists:
Alison Saar

Untitled (Skull) 1981
Click to enlarge

Period & Artists
Pre-Civil War
Exploring Freedom
The Harlem Renaissance
The Legacy
Social Activism
Modern Identities
Jean Michel Basquiat
Alison Saar
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