By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Friday, October 12th, CCBB will open the largest Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition in Latin America, presenting over eighty works by the influential twentieth-century artist, including paintings, drawings, prints and more.

Basquiat initially gained notoriety through his ubiquitous graffiti tag ‘SAMO’ that became known throughout New York; his neo-expressionist paintings were then championed by fellow New Yorker Andy Warhol, with whom he had a complicated relationship until his tragic death at the age of 27 from a heroin overdose, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News,
Basquiat initially gained notoriety through his ubiquitous graffiti tag ‘SAMO’ that became known throughout New York; his neo-expressionist paintings were then championed by fellow New Yorker Andy Warhol, with whom he had a complicated relationship until his tragic death at the age of 27 from a heroin overdose, photo internet reproduction.

Described by The New York Times as “the most famous of only a small number of young black artists who have achieved national recognition,” Jean-Michel Basquiat’s status in the art world has continued to grow since his early death in 1988.

The son of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, New Yorker Jean-Michel Basquiat ran away from home at age fifteen and spent the intervening years on the street until his discovery as an artist. Described by Pieter Tjabbes as a “personification of the transformations of his city in the 1970s and 1980s,” Basquiat went from homelessness to art-stardom within a couple of years.

Alongside his paintings, he collaborated with musicians such as Blondie, Grandmaster Flash, and even had a brief relationship with Madonna. The first public showing of Basquiat’s work was in a group exhibition that also included contributions from William S Burroughs, David Byrne, Keith Haring, and Robert Mapplethorpe.

His technique, groundbreaking for the time, included covering his canvases with a mixture of elements such as collages, xerox copies, slogans in spraypaint, and scrawled images of human anatomy. The result, as Tjabbes points out, are “works that reflect the rhythms, sounds and urban life of New York, synthesizing the artistic, musical, literary and political discourse of the time.”

Since his death, Basquiat’s reputation has only grown, culminating on May 18, 2017, when a 1982 painting of a skull by Basquiat was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $110.5 million, a record high for an American artist, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News,
Since his death, Basquiat’s reputation has only grown, culminating on May 18, 2017, when a 1982 painting of a skull by Basquiat was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $110.5 million, a record high for an American artist at auction, photo internet reproduction.

All this attracted the attention of critics, curators and buyers. Basquiat became a darling of the New York art world, having his work exhibited in the some of the world’s most prestigious galleries and, even before his sudden death, earning comparisons to giants such as Rauschenberg, de Kooning, Pollock, and even his initial champion and sometime collaborator, Andy Warhol.

A biopic of Basquiat’s life, featuring David Bowie and Dennis Hopper, was screened at Rio’s Caixa Cultural last year in honor of the late British singer.

Dominic Parry, of Cru Natural Wines and Winehouse, adds, “I will definitely be going to the exhibition. It’s not the easiest art to get into, but we like something provocative.”

What: Basquiat at CCBB RJ
When: October 12th to January 7th; Wednesdays to Mondays, 9AM-9PM
Where: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil Rio de Janeiro, Rua Primeiro de Março, 66 – Centro
Entrance: Free

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