From lower Manhattan to discovery by Andy Warhol, Jean-Micheal Basquiat (1960-1988) became an unmistakeable icon for the arts.
His legacy today is captured in leading artists' songs, along the walls in many street artists' graffiti style and by his own body of works. These works have become desireable as primary comments on the impact of the times leading up and through the "roaring" 80's. While he painted as SAMO, his street creed, it really was the transformation from concrete to canvas and wood that formed his influence today.
More than twenty years after his death, Basquiat's friends and admirers have continued to extend the messages found in many of his works.
After his first show in 1980, his transformative themes about drugs, black heritage, personal struggles and his own visual language about commercialization prevailed. Some of his icons of importance include references to his childhood in Brooklyn, the Basquiat Crown, Basquiat's copyright and trademark symbols and street vernacular like Peso Neto.The profound nature of his intensity resonated with Andy Warhol. After meeting in 1980, Warhol and Basquiat developed a friendship and an artistic parallel in the arts not seen, according to some, since Picasso and Matisse.
In the mid-eighties, both were wildly popular and socially relevant. Friends and colleagues included Madonna, Debbie Harry, Fab Five Freddy and a host of notable "FACTORY TYPES."
Basquiat's works took on significance ultimately in galleries including Annina Nosei, Gaggosian, Mary Boone and Galerie Bruno Bishchofberger. It was the later who encouraged Warhol and Basquiat to interpret and comment visually on each other's work. After Andy Warhol died, Basquiat suffered greatly from the lost friendship. Ultimately his addiction to heroin led to his own death at age 27 in 1988.
Today, Basquiat works have been darlings of international contemporary collectors and celebrities who have opted for the homage to history.