Basquiat. Boom for Real

February 16 - May 27, 2018

In the late 1970s, Jean-Michel Basquiat teamed up with Al Diaz to write enigmatic graffiti statements across the city under the pseudonym SAMO©. Soon he was drawing in his own blood, collaging baseball cards, creating his own clothing, and painting on doors, window frames, and enormous homemade canvases. Today, Basquiat (1960–1988) is acknowledged as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Having come of age in the post-punk underground art scene in Lower Manhattan, he conquered the art world and gained widespread international recognition, becoming the youngest artist ever to participate in the documenta in Kassel in 1982. Basquiat’s raw, vibrant imagery is matched by a startling erudition, seen in the fragments of bold, capitalized text that abound in his works. These bear witness to his encyclopedic interests and his experience as a young artist with no formal training. More than 30 years after Basquiat’s last major exhibition in Germany, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting a major survey devoted to this American artist, organized in collaboration with the Barbican Art Gallery, London. The exhibition is also the first to focus on Basquiat’s relationship to music, text, film, and television, situating the artist’s formidable talents within a broader cultural context.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017 & Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar, New York, Courtesy Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Photo: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

More than 30 years after Basquiat’s last major exhibition in Germany, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting a major survey devoted to the American artist.


Basquiat. Boom for Real

14.08.2017 | In the late 1970s, Jean-Michel Basquiat teamed up with Al Diaz to write enigmatic graffiti statements across the city under the pseudonym SAMO©. Soon he was drawing in his own blood, collaging baseball cards, creating his own clothing, and painting on doors, window frames, and enormous homemade canvases. Today, Basquiat (1960–1988) is acknowledged as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Having come of age in the post-punk underground art scene in Lower Manhattan, he conquered the art world and gained widespread international recognition, becoming the youngest artist ever to participate in the documenta in Kassel in 1982. Basquiat’s raw, vibrant imagery is matched by a startling erudition, seen in the fragments of bold, capitalized text that abound in his works. These bear witness to his encyclopedic interests and his experience as a young artist with no formal training. More than 30 years after Basquiat’s last major exhibition in Germany, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting a major survey devoted to this American artist, organized in collaboration with the Barbican Art Gallery, London. The exhibition is also the first to focus on Basquiat’s relationship to music, text, film, and television, situating the artist’s formidable talents within a broader cultural context.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1980, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017 & Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris & Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar, New York, Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017 & Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar, New York, Courtesy Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Photo: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

Jean-Michel Basquiat, A Panel of Experts, 1982, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017 & Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar, New York, Courtesy The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Photo: MFA, Douglas M. Parker

Jean-Michel Basquiat on the set of Downtown 81, photo: Edo Bertoglio, © New York Beat Film LLC, by permission of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat