The Neo-Expressionism of Jean Michel Basquiat

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During the 1980s, the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat rose to fame as part of the Neo-expressionism movement. His style is characterized by the use of bright colors, sharp contrasts and geometric forms. His paintings are considered to be among the most important pieces of art of the late 20th century.

Early life

Known for his art that is deeply rooted in his life, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a young man with a tragic ending. At age 27, he died of a heroin overdose.

Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1960. His mother was of Haitian descent and his father was Puerto Rican. He was raised in a middle class family. He began drawing at an early age. He also loved jazz and poetry. He had two sisters and was fluent in French and Spanish.

Jean-Michel Basquiat attended many museums in New York as a child. He became a junior member of the Brooklyn Museum of Art when he was six years old. He also began taking art classes at a prestigious school near his home. His mother encouraged him to learn about the arts. He was interested in Robert Rauschenberg's style. He also became a track athlete.

When Basquiat was seven, his parents separated. His father kicked him out of his home. He lived in a friend's home until he was 15. He became a graffiti artist and used graffiti in many of his pieces. He also had a band called Gray, based on the medical textbook Gray's Anatomy. He was also a DJ at punk-art spaces.

Neo-Expressionist style

During the 1980s, Neo-Expressionism became a hugely popular style of painting. This movement was based on figurative art and incorporated found objects into canvases. These pieces of art sold for extraordinary amounts in the 1980s. However, the art was often criticized as being overly nostalgic.

The Neo-Expressionist style is also known as the Trans-avant-garde or New Fauvism. It is an art movement that is considered to be the bridge between modernism and Postmodernism. In this art style, the artist often incorporates found objects into their paintings and uses a highly activated picture plane. The painters also explore emotions, human psychology, and existential expressiveness.

Jean-Michel Basquiat is a New York City street artist who became a prominent Neo-Expressionist. He became known for his large, rough brush strokes and emotional subject matter. His paintings reflect his cultural background, particularly his African-American and Haitian roots. His paintings also incorporate references to sports, music, and scientific formulae.

Another prominent Neo-Expressionist artist was Eric Fischl, an American painter who focused on human psychology and everyday life. His artwork often portrayed marginalized suburbia. He was known for his depictions of sexuality, and the everyday vulnerability of human bodies.

Late-period paintings

During his late-period paintings, Jean-Michel Basquiat employed a Neo-Expressionism style. This style reclaimed the human figure from the abstract and conceptual art movements of the 1980s.

The central figure in Basquiat's work is often loaded with symbolism. This work, for instance, features an emaciated, skeletal figure, which could be a reference to spiritualized energy. The skeleton's cartoonish proportions and expression suggest gestural graffiti.

The skull motif is also prevalent in Basquiat's work. In particular, this piece features a carved skull, which is suspended above a subway system background. The skull is surrounded by smears of bright colors and jagged lines, which suggest wounds on the face.

Basquiat's style was inspired by African Diaspora art, particularly that of the West African griot. This figure traditionally represented a tribal king. Typically, the griot would have a squinting elliptical eye, thin limbs, and grimace. It was also commonly depicted as a wandering philosopher.

Basquiat's work is often a critique of African-American history and racism. His works often contain African-American men, most of whom are armed with an intent to resist. This may be a way for Basquiat to assert his own agency.


During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the American artist Jean Michel Basquiat emerged as one of the most influential figures in New York's art scene. Originally a graffiti artist, he went on to become an acclaimed Neo-expressionist painter. In 1988, he died of a drug overdose. Known for his turbulent life, Basquiat is remembered as one of the most popular artists of the 1980s. In fact, his paintings have sold for more than $110 million.

Basquiat was born in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on December 22, 1960. He had two younger sisters and an older brother, Max, who died before his birth. His mother, Matilde, was committed to a psychiatric hospital as a child. Eventually, the family moved to Miramar, Puerto Rico. Basquiat's parents separated in 1968. He was sent to City-As-School, a private school for artistic students who failed conventional school.

When he was 15 years old, Basquiat ran away from home. He was discovered in a pool of vomit. A week later, he was returned to his father's care.

November 28, 2022




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