Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation
by Liz Munsell (Editor), Greg Tate (Editor), J. Faith Almiron (Contributor), Dakota DeVos (Contributor), Hua Hsu (Contributor), Carlo McCormick (Contributor)
In the early 1980s, art and writing labeled as graffiti transitioned from New York City walls and subway trains onto canvas and into art galleries. Young artists who freely sampled from their urban experiences and their largely black, Latino and immigrant histories infused the downtown art scene with expressionist, pop and graffiti-inspired compositions.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was among the best known of these emerging artists. He and his fellow creators – including A-One, Fab Five Freddy, Futura, Keith Haring, Kool Koor, LA2, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, Rammellzee and Toxic – became avant-garde leaders infiltrating and reshaping the predominantly white art world. This book captures the energy, inventiveness, and resistance unleashed when hip-hop went ‘all city’.
A poet, musician, and graffiti prodigy in late-1970s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat had honed his signature painting style of obsessive scribbling, elusive symbols and diagrams, and mask-and-skull imagery by the time he was 20. “I don’t think about art while I work,” he once said. “I think about life.” Basquiat drew his subjects from his own Caribbean heritage—his father was Haitian and his mother of Puerto Rican descent—and a convergence of African-American, African, and Aztec cultural histories with Classical themes and contemporary heroes like athletes and musicians. Often associated with Neo-expressionism, Basquiat received massive acclaim in only a few short years, showing alongside artists like Julian Schnabel, David Salle, and Francesco Clemente. In 1983, he met Andy Warhol, who would come to be a mentor and idol. The two collaborated on a series of paintings before Warhol’s death in 1987, followed by Basquiat’s own untimely passing a year later.
Hardcover: 240 pages
Dimensions: 23.88 x 2.54 x 27.18 cm
Publisher: MFA Publications – The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; 1st edition (23 April 2020)