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Basquiat-Style Artists

In 1985, the New York Times Magazine featured a shoeless Jean-Michel Basquiat on its cover. Titled “New Art, New Money,” it was not just about the artist, but its focus was really the vague concept of the “art star”. Basquiat ran away from home at 17 to live in New York, couch-surfing and starting off his career as a graffiti artist spray-painting walls under the pseudonym SAMO.  By the early 80s, race explicitly entered his work for the first time, reflecting a growing consciousness of his own position within the New York art world. Through his paintings, there was a desire to depict the Black community in unprecedented ways. Sadly, Basquiat died at just 27 in 1988, leaving behind an iconic legacy. 

Brooklyn-based artist Genesis Tremaine is best known for her bold and abstract paintings of Black subjects set against monochromatic backdrops. The fragmented faces in Tramaine’s portraits speak to the many facets and complexities of Black personhood. For Tramaine, the process of creating is spiritual and much of her inspiration comes from the graffiti scene of 1980s New York. Similarly Tarek is heavily inspired by Basquiat and even published the first book on graffiti to come out in Europe. Works by Aboudia also echo an innate interest in graffiti and in turn demonstrate the shift in the importance of such an art movement. As you dive into our collections you’ll notice just how much Basquiat’s legacy lives on.

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