Okuh Studios recently went on a trip to the Barbican Centre to take a look at 'Boom For Real' an exhibition of work by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
A pioneering prodigy of the 1980s downtown New York art scene and a bit of a renaissance man, he was self-taught artist, poet, DJ and musician as well as a style icon in his own right.
Basquiat started to gain notoriety in the 70s as part of graffiti duo Samo©, writing enigmatic messages around the streets of Soho and The Lower East Side, before ending the project with the legendary epitaph 'SAMO© IS DEAD'.
In 1980 Basquiat starred in Glenn O'Brien's film 'Downtown 81' an ultra hip snapshot of post-punk Manhattan, which also featured some tracks by his No Wave band 'Gray' on the soundtrack.
In that same year he got his first big break at the exhibition 'New York, New Wave', where he got an entire room at the gallery to himself (replicated at the Barbican).
Leading to what seemed like a meteoric rise to art stardom, including collaborations with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Fab 5 Freddy, Rammellzee and Blondie among others. Before his untimely death at the age of 27 in 1988.
This is a truly inspiring exhibition of a truly inspirational artist.
Hollywood Africans - Jean-Michel Basquiat
Poster for the Warhol x Basquiat joint show