The work of iconic painter Jean-Michel Basquiat is coming to the United Kingdom. Boom For Real, a new exhibition dedicated to the late artist aims to “untangle the complex web of references that made up this body of work—from the films and music he drew influence from, to the politics and painters that inspired him,” says Vice. Prior to this, only a few of the painter’s works were even available for public view in Britain.
Basquiat was born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother; his early years in art were spent doing graffiti around New York City under the pseudonym of SAMO, strategically near SoHo art galleries with partner Al Diaz. The writings quickly grabbed the art world’s attention, sparking interest in who was behind the acronym. Basquiat’s first show in 1981 at PS1 was a raving success; he soared to fame afterwards throughout the 1980s, becoming one of the first black painters whose work was featured in galleries and gained mass attention.
Basquiat’s work was intensely political, with themes of abandonment, colonization, and making a space for black bodies to be seen in an art world that regularly erased marginalized identities. The new art show in England will highlight 100 pieces of his art work, running parallel to the film series, The Grime and The Glamour.