From Publishers Weekly
Emerging from New York's 1970s counterculture, Jean-Michel Basquiat conquered the mainstream art world in 1981, when an Artforum profile by Rene Ricard dubbed him the love child of Cy Twombly and Jean Dubuffet. Basquiat brought with him a visual lexicon of graffiti symbols and urban rage?an artistic style that many critics of the day deemed more eye-sore than art form. Chiappini's study of Basquiat's work, which spans the artist's career from his earliest SoHo shows to his premature death at 27, interweaves six essays, one interview and 162 images (80 in color) to provide a narrative (and argument) for Basquiat's placement in the art world pantheon. While some critics, like Italian art historian Achille Bonito Oliva, tend to overintellectualize Basquiat's intentions, the artist's interview with Henry Geldzahler reveals his unpretentious methods and practical concerns. Particularly interesting is former Whitney curator Richard D. Marshall's essay, which traces the young artist's many inspirations and influences: Pollock, Twombly, Warhol and, above all, the New York City streets. (Aug.)
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Controversial cult artist, enfant terrible of the art world, friend of Haring and Warhol, and both idol and a victim of the art scene of the '80s-Jean-Michel Basquiat was a legend in his own lifetime. This catalog, published in conjunction with the major retrospective at the Lugano Museum of Modern Art, provides an excellent overview of Basquiat's life and work. As an African-American painter, Basquiat has made a significant impact on the history of contemporary art. From his origins as a street graffiti artist, he became one of the most influential artists of his time: in 2005 his work is being celebrated in seperate exhibitions in the US and Europe. As emblems of the contemporary world, his explosive, colorful, and apparently na?f canvases have an unparalleled force. The brief but intense artistic career of this celebrated proponent of the downtown New York art scene of the 1980s is covered through some fifty paintings and twenty works on paper drawn from prestigious private collections and museums. This book offers a new intense dialogue with the more modern expressions of twentieth-century art.