Jean-Michel Basquiat
Name: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Occupation: Miscellaneous
Gender: Male
Birth Day: December 22, 1960
Death Date: August 12, 1988(1988-08-12) (aged 27)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Age: Aged 27
Birth Place: Brooklyn, United States
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

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Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, United States (27 years old). Jean-Michel Basquiat is a Miscellaneous, zodiac sign: Capricorn. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: $10 Million.

Net Worth 2020

$10 Million
Find out more about Jean-Michel Basquiat net worth here.

Does Jean-Michel Basquiat Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Jean-Michel Basquiat died on August 12, 1988(1988-08-12) (aged 27)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S..


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Biography Timeline


Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22, 1960, shortly after the death of his older brother, Max. He was the second of four children of Matilde Basquiat (née Andrades) (July 28, 1934 – November 17, 2008) and Gérard Basquiat (1930 – July 7, 2013). He had two younger sisters: Lisane, born in 1964, and Jeanine, born in 1967. His father, Gérard Basquiat, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and his mother, Matilde Basquiat, who was of Puerto Rican descent, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Matilde instilled a love for art in her young son by taking him to art museums in Manhattan and enrolling him as a junior member of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Basquiat was a precocious child who learned how to read and write by the age of four and was a gifted artist. His teachers, including artist José Machado, noticed his artistic abilities, and his mother encouraged her son's artistic talent. In 1967, Basquiat started attending Saint Ann's School, an arts-oriented exclusive private school. There he met his friend Marc Prozzo; together they created a children's book, written by Basquiat at the age of seven, and illustrated by Prozzo.


In September 1968, at the age of seven, Basquiat was hit by a car while playing in the street. His arm was broken and he suffered several internal injuries; he eventually underwent a splenectomy. While he was recuperating from his injuries, his mother brought him a copy of Gray's Anatomy to keep him occupied. This book would prove to be influential in his future artistic outlook. His parents separated that year and he and his sisters were raised by their father. By the age of 11, Basquiat was fully fluent in French, Spanish and English, and an avid reader of all three languages. His family resided in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, for five years, then moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1974, where Basquiat studied at Saint John's School in Condado. After two years, they returned to New York City.


In 1977, Basquiat and his schoolmate Al Diaz began spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO. The designs featured inscribed messages within his Untitled works such as "Plush safe he think... SAMO [sic]" and "SAMO as an escape clause."


Basquiat dropped out of Edward R. Murrow High School in the 10th grade, and then attended City-As-School, an alternative high school in Manhattan, home to many artistic students who failed at conventional schooling. In June 1978, He was expelled from school for pieing the principal.

In 1978, Basquiat worked for the Unique Clothing Warehouse at 718 Broadway in NoHo, and at night he continued spray painting graffiti as SAMO on neighborhood buildings. On December 11, 1978, The Village Voice published an article about the SAMO graffiti.


In 1979, Basquiat appeared on the live public-access television show TV Party hosted by Glenn O'Brien, and the two started a friendship. He made regular appearances on the show over the next few years. In April 1979, Basquiat met Michael Holman at the Canal Zone Party and they formed the noise rock band Test Pattern, which was later renamed Gray. Other members of Gray included Shannon Dawson, Nick Taylor, Wayne Clifford and Vincent Gallo. The band performed at nightclubs, such as Max's Kansas City, CBGB, Hurrah, and the Mudd Club.

In October 1979, at Arleen Schloss's open space called A's, Basquiat showed his SAMO montages using color Xerox copies of his works. Schloss also allowed Basquiat to use the space to create his "MAN MADE" clothing, which were upcycled garments he painted on. In November 1979, costume designer Patricia Field carried his clothing line in her upscale boutique on 8th street in the East Village. Field also displayed his sculptures in the store window.


After Basquiat and Diaz ended their friendship, the SAMO project ended with the epitaph "SAMO IS DEAD," inscribed on the walls of SoHo buildings in early 1980. Later that year, Basquiat began filming Glenn O'Brien's independent film Downtown 81 (2000), originally titled New York Beat. The film featured some of Gray's recordings on its soundtrack.

During the early 1980s, Basquiat made his breakthrough as a solo artist. In June 1980, Basquiat participated in The Times Square Show, a multi-artist exhibition sponsored by Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab) and Fashion Moda where he was noticed by various critics and curators. In February 1981, Basquiat participated in the New York/New Wave exhibit, curated by Diego Cortez at New York's MoMA PS1. Cortez organized Basquiat's first solo show with Emilio Mazzoli, an Italian gallerist, that opened in Modena, Italy on May 23, 1981. In December 1981, Rene Ricard published "The Radiant Child" in Artforum magazine, the first extensive article on Basquiat. During this period, Basquiat painted many pieces on found objects, such as discarded doors.

Despite his artistic success, his emotional instability continued to haunt him and he used drugs frequently. His cocaine use became so excessive that he blew a hole in his nasal septum. A friend claimed Basquiat confessed that he was on heroin in late 1980. Many of his peers speculated that his heroin use was a means of coping with the demands of his newfound fame, the exploitative nature of the art industry, and the pressures of being a black man in the white-dominated art world.

Basquiat's first public exhibition in June 1980 was in the group effort The Times Square Show (with David Hammons, Jenny Holzer, Lee Quiñones, Kenny Scharf and Kiki Smith among others), held in a vacant building at 41st Street and Seventh Avenue in New York. In 1981, he had his first solo exhibition at Galleria d'Arte Emilio Mazzoli in Modena. In late 1981, Basquiat joined the Annina Nosei Gallery in New York, where he had his first solo US exhibition from March 6 to April 1, 1982. By then, he was showing regularly alongside other Neo-expressionist artists including Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi. In 1982, he also had exhibits at the Gagosian Gallery in West Hollywood, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger in Zurich, and the Fun Gallery in New York.


Basquiat sold his first painting, Cadillac Moon (1981), to singer Debbie Harry, frontwoman of the punk rock band Blondie, for $200. They had filmed Downtown 81 together. Basquiat also appeared in the 1981 Blondie music video "Rapture," in a role originally intended for Grandmaster Flash, as a nightclub disc jockey. At the time, Basquiat was living with his girlfriend, Suzanne Mallouk, who financially supported him as a waitress. She later described his sexuality in Jennifer Clement's book, Widow Basquiat, as: "... not monochromatic. It did not rely on visual stimulation, such as a pretty girl. It was a very rich multichromatic sexuality. He was attracted to people for all different reasons. They could be boys, girls, thin, fat, pretty, ugly. It was, I think, driven by intelligence. He was attracted to intelligence more than anything and to pain."

In late 1981, Basquiat met Annina Nosei and participated in a group show called Public Address with Keith Haring and Barbara Kruger among others. He joined the Annina Nosei Gallery and worked in a basement below the gallery toward his first American one-man show in March 1982. Nosei provided him with a loft to live in which also served as a studio at 101 Crosby Street in SoHo. In March 1982, he painted in Modena for his second Italian exhibition. By that summer, he had left the Annina Nosei gallery and Bruno Bischofberger became his worldwide art dealer. In June 1982, Basquiat became the youngest artist to ever take part in Documenta in Kassel, Germany, where his works were exhibited alongside Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. Bischofberger gave Basquiat a one-man show in his Zurich gallery in September 1982. He arranged for Basquiat to meet Warhol for lunch on October 4, 1982. Warhol recalled that Basquiat "went home and within two hours a painting was back, still wet, of him and me together." The painting, Dos Cabezas (1982), ignited a friendship between them. Basquiat was photographed by James Van Der Zee for an interview with Henry Geldzahler published in the January 1983 issue of Warhol's Interview magazine. Starting in November 1982, Basquiat worked from the ground-floor display and studio space Larry Gagosian had built below his Venice, California home. There, he commenced a series of paintings for a March 1983 show; his second at the Gagosian Gallery in West Hollywood. Basquiat flew out his girlfriend, then-unknown singer Madonna, to accompany him. Gagosian recalled:

The first public showing of Basquiat's paintings and drawings was in 1981 at the MoMA PS1 New York/New Wave exhibit. The article in Artforum magazine entitled "Radiant Child" written by Rene Ricard after seeing the show brought Basquiat to the attention of the art world. In 1984, Basquiat immortalized Ricard in two drawings, Untitled (Axe/Rene) and Rene Ricard, representing the tension that existed between them.

Notable private collectors of Basquiat's work include David Bowie, Mera and Donald Rubell, Lars Ulrich, Steven A. Cohen, Laurence Graff, John McEnroe, Madonna, Debbie Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Swizz Beatz, Jay-Z, and Johnny Depp. Basquiat sold his first painting in 1981, and by 1982, spurred by the Neo-Expressionist art boom, his work was in great demand. Basquiat was on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in 1985 which was unprecedented for any young African-American artist. Since Basquiat's death in 1988, the market for his work has developed steadily—in line with overall art market trends—with a dramatic peak in 2007 when, at the height of the art market boom, the global auction volume for his work was over $115 million. Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman of Christie's, is quoted describing Basquiat's market as "two-tiered. ... The most coveted material is rare, generally dating from the best period, 1981–83."

Basquiat starred in Downtown 81, a vérité movie written by Glenn O'Brien and shot by Edo Bertoglio in 1981, but not released until 2000. In 1996, eight years after the artist's death, a biographical film titled Basquiat was released, directed by Julian Schnabel, with actor Jeffrey Wright starring as Basquiat. David Bowie played the part of Andy Warhol. Schnabel was interviewed during the film's script development as a personal acquaintance of Basquiat. Schnabel then purchased the rights to the project, believing that he could make a better film.


Basquiat took considerable interest in the work that artist Robert Rauschenberg was producing at Gemini G.E.L. in West Hollywood, visiting him on several occasions and finding inspiration in his accomplishments. While in Los Angeles, Basquiat painted Hollywood Africans (1983), which portrays himself with fellow artists Toxic and Rammellzee. In March 1983, at 22 years old, Basquiat was included in the Whitney Biennial, becoming the youngest artist to represent America in a major international exhibition of contemporary art. Basquiat was deeply affected by the death of Michael Stewart, a young black artist in the downtown club scene who was killed by transit police in September 1983. He painted Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart) (1983) in response to that incident.

In 1983, Basquiat produced a 12-inch rap single featuring hip-hop artists Rammellzee and K-Rob. Billed as Rammellzee vs. K-Rob, the single contained two versions of the same track: "Beat Bop" on the A-side with vocals, with the B-side adding an instrumental version. The single was pressed in limited quantities on the one-off Tartown Record Company label. The single's cover featured Basquiat's artwork, making the pressing highly desirable among both record and art collectors.


By 1984, Basquiat was showing at the Mary Boone Gallery in SoHo. Basquiat often painted in expensive Armani suits; and he would even appear in public in the same paint-splattered clothes. On February 10, 1985, he appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a feature titled "New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist".

A large number of photographs depict a collaboration between Warhol and Basquiat in 1984 and 1985. For their joint painting Olympics (1984), Warhol made the five-ring Olympic symbol rendered in the original primary colors and Basquiat painted over it in his animated style. They made another homage to the 1984 Summer Olympics with Olympic Rings (1985). Their joint exhibition, Paintings shown at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, caused a rift in their friendship after it was slandered by critics and Basquiat was referred to as Warhol's mascot.

Major exhibitions of Basquiat's work have included Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings 1981–1984 at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in 1984, which traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, in 1985; two exhibits at Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, in 1987 and 1989. The first retrospective to be held of his work was the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from October 1992 to February 1993; sponsored by AT&T, MTV, and Madonna. It subsequently traveled to the Menil Collection in Texas; the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa; and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama, from 1993 to 1994. The catalog for this exhibition, was edited by Richard Marshall and included several essays of different perspectives.


In August 1986, Basquiat traveled to Ivory Coast for an exhibit organized by art dealer Bruno Bischofberger at the French Cultural Institute in Abidjan. He was accompanied by his girlfriend Jennifer Goode. She worked at Area nightclub, a frequent hangout spot for Basquiat. Goode unsuccessfully tried to get Basquiat into a methadone program.


In January 1988, Basquiat traveled to Paris for his exhibit at the Yvon Lambert Gallery, and to Dusseldorf for an exhibit that same month at the Hans Mayer Gallery. In Paris, he befriended Ouattara Watts, an artist from Ivory Coast. They made plans to travel to Watts' birthplace, Korhogo, that summer. Following an exhibition at Vrej Baghoomian's gallery in April 1988, Basquiat traveled to Maui in June 1988. When he returned, Keith Haring reported meeting with Basquiat, who was glad to tell him that he had finally kicked his drug dependency.

Despite attempts at sobriety, Basquiat died on August 12, 1988, of a heroin overdose at his studio on Great Jones Street in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood. He had been found unresponsive in his bedroom by his girlfriend Kelly Inman. He was taken to Cabrini Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He was 27 years old.

Basquiat is buried at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, where Jeffrey Deitch made a graveside speech. Among the speakers at Basquiat's memorial held at Saint Peter's Church on November 3, 1988, was Ingrid Sischy, who, as the editor of Artforum in the 1980s, got to know the artist well and commissioned a number of articles that introduced his work to the wider world. Former girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk recited sections of A. R. Penck's "Poem for Basquiat", and his friend Fab 5 Freddy read a poem by Langston Hughes. The 300 guests included musicians John Lurie and Arto Lindsay; artist Keith Haring; poet David Shapiro; writer Glenn O'Brien; and members of Basquiat's former band Gray.


In 1991, poet Kevin Young produced a book, To Repel Ghosts, a compendium of 117 poems relating to Basquiat's life, individual paintings, and social themes found in the artist's work. He published a "remix" of the book in 2005. In 1993, a children's book was released titled Life Doesn't Frighten Me, which combines a poem written by Maya Angelou with art made by Basquiat. In 2000, writer Jennifer Clement wrote the biography Widow Basquiat, based on the narratives told to her by Basquiat's former girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk. It was re-released in 2014, titled Widow Basquiat: A Love Story. In 2005, poet M. K. Asante published the poem "SAMO", dedicated to Basquiat, in his book Beautiful. And Ugly Too. In 2016, the children's book Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, was released in 2016. The biography, told from the perspective of a young prodigy, won the Caldecott Medal in 2017. In 2019, illustrator Paolo Parisi wrote the graphic novel Basquiat: A Graphic Novel, following Basquiat's journey from street-art legend SAMO to international art-scene darling, up until his death.


In 2001 New York artist and con-artist Alfredo Martinez was charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with attempting to deceive two art dealers by selling them $185,000 worth of fake Basquiat drawings. The charges against Martinez, which landed him in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correction Center on June 19, 2002, involved an alleged scheme to sell fake Basquiat drawings, accompanied by forged certificates of authenticity. Until 2002, the highest amount paid for an original work of Basquiat's was $3,302,500, set on November 12, 1998, at Christie's. In 2002, Basquiat's Profit I (1982), a large piece measuring 86.5 by 157.5 inches (220 by 400 cm), was set for auction again at Christie's by drummer Lars Ulrich of the heavy metal band Metallica. It sold for $5,509,500. The proceedings of the auction are documented in the 2004 film Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.


The exhibition Basquiat was mounted by the Brooklyn Museum, New York, in 2005, and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. From October 2006 to January 2007, the first Basquiat exhibition in Puerto Rico took place at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR); produced by ArtPremium, Corinne Timsit and Eric Bonici. Basquiat remains an important source of inspiration for a younger generation of contemporary artists all over the world such as Rita Ackermann and Kader Attia, as shown, for example, at the exhibition Street and Studio: From Basquiat to Séripop co-curated by Cathérine Hug and Thomas Mießgang and previously exhibited at Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, in 2010.


In 2006, the Equality Forum featured Jean-Michel Basquiat during LGBT history month. A 2009 documentary film, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, directed by Tamra Davis, was first screened as part of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was shown on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2011. Tamra Davis discussed her friendship with Basquiat in a Sotheby's video, "Basquiat: Through the Eyes of a Friend". In 2017, Sara Driver directed a documentary film, Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, which had its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2018, PBS broadcast a 90-minute documentary about Basquiat as part of the American Masters series, entitled Basquiat: Rage to Riches.


Between 2007 and 2012, the price of Basquiat artwork continued to steady grow up to $16.3 million dollars. In 2013, Basquiat's piece Dustheads (1982) sold for $48.8 million at Christie's. In 2016, an Untitled (1982) artwork of a devil sold at Christie's for $57.3 million to a Japanese businessman and collector, Yusaku Maezawa. In 2017, Maezawa purchased Basquiat's Untitled (1982), a powerful depiction of a black skull with red and yellow rivulets, at auction for a record-setting $110.5. It is the most ever paid for an American artwork, and the sixth most expensive artwork sold at an auction, surpassing Andy Warhol's Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) which sold for $105 million in 2013. Maezawa's two record breaking purchases of Basquiat artworks in 2016 and 2017 total $170 million. In June 2020, Untitled (Head) (1982), sold for $15.2 million, a record for a Sotheby's online sale, and a record for a Basquiat work on paper. In July 2020, Loïc Gouzer's Fair Warning app announced that an untitled on paper, Untitled (1982), sold for $10.8 million, which is a record high for an in-app purchase. That year, American businessman and art collector Ken Griffin purchased Basquiat's Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump (1982) for $100 million.


In 2008 the authentication committee was sued by collector Gerard De Geer, who claimed the committee breached its contract by refusing to offer an opinion on the authenticity of the painting Fuego Flores (1983); after the lawsuit was dismissed, the committee ruled the work genuine. In early 2012, the committee announced that it would dissolve in September of that year and no longer consider applications.


The authentication committee of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat was formed by the gallery that was assigned to handle the artist's estate and was dissolved in 2012. Between 1994 and 2012, it reviewed over 2,000 works of art; the cost of the committee's opinion was $100. The committee was headed by Gérard Basquiat. Members and advisers varied depending on who was available at the time when a piece was being authenticated, but they have included the curators and gallerists Diego Cortez, Jeffrey Deitch, John Cheim, Richard Marshall, Fred Hoffman and Annina Nosei (the artist's first art dealer).


On August 12, 2014, Revelation 13:18 released the single "Old School" featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat, along with the self-titled album Revelation 13:18 x Basquiat. The release date of "Old School" coincided with the anniversary of Basquiat's death. The single received attention after American rapper and producer Jay-Z dressed up as Basquiat for Halloween the same year as the release giving revelation a nod.


Basquiat and the Bayou, a 2014 show presented by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, focused on the artist's works with themes of the American South. The Brooklyn Museum exhibited Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks in 2015. In 2017, Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980 exhibited as Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which displayed works made by Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler. Later that year, the Barbican Centre in London exhibited Basquiat: Boom for Real. In 2019, the Brant Foundation in New York, hosted an extensive exhibit of Basquiat's works with free admission. All 50,000 tickets were claimed for before the exhibition opened, so additional tickets were released. In June 2019, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York presented Basquiat's "Defacement": The Untold Story. Later that year, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne opened the exhibit Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston will exhibit Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation from October 2020 to May 2021. The Lotte Museum of Art will host the first major exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat in Seoul from October 2020 to February 2021.


Basquiat often painted in expensive Armani suits and he walked the runway for the Comme des Garçons SS87 collection. To commemorate Basquiat' runway appearance, Comme des Garçons featured his prints in the brand's FW18 collection. Sean John paid tribute to Basquiat for the 30th anniversary of his death with a capsule collection in 2018. Apparel and accessories companies featuring Basquiat's work have included Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, Herschel Supply Co., Alice + Olivia, Olympia Le-Tan, and Coach New York. Footwear companies such as Dr. Martens, Reebok, and Vivobarefoot have also collaborated with Basquiat's estate.


In April 2020, New York rock band the Strokes released their sixth studio album, The New Abnormal. The cover art featured Basquiat’s 1981 painting Bird on Money.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Jean-Michel Basquiat is 61 years, 11 months and 11 days old. Jean-Michel Basquiat will celebrate 62nd birthday on a Thursday 22nd of December 2022.

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