For Immediate Release
Jean-Michel Basquiat
"Works on Paper"
June - July 28

Jean-Michel Basquiat: "Works on Paper"
Press Release

The imaginistic art created during Basquiat's highly productive nine-year career established him as an artist known for the seriousness and significance of the art he produced. He was a graffiti-artist whose work has artistic sensibilities and social-political attitudes that existed in the popular culture of the 1980's.

Basquiat's Haitian heritage influenced his work with reference to voodoo and primitive human figures creating unique depictions of man. The simplicity of his stick figures are applied crudely to the canvas developing his own stylistic marks using thick oil stick lines, overlapping shapes and cryptic writing. His conscious reference to earlier artists such as: Dubuffet, Picasso and Pollock, is seen in the recurring subject matter of graffiti signs, symbols and black history.

Basquiat's artistic career is characterized by a shift in style and subject matter. His early work most often depicts skeletal figures and mask images derived from his street existence as a graffiti artist. The work produced during the mid-eighties revels an interest in his heritage and features surfaces dense with writing and unrelated imagery. During the later years of his career, from 1986 to 1988, his painterly style depicts figurative and symbolic content with the inability to construct a composition in any traditional sense. Pushing his work into new territory, Basquiat was an artist's instrument that thrived on the popular culture of the 1980's, and died of its excess.

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