Men artists: Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) was part of the Neo-Expressionist movement of the 1980s, led by Andy Warhol. Basquiat's primitive style grew out of his time as a graffiti artist in New York City. People first knew him as part of the anonymous duo SAMO© (pronounced "same-o"), with Al Diaz. They were among the first to use words to communicate thoughts, rather than just tags with names and numbers.

For 3 years, from the age of 17–20, Basquiat sold his art on t-shirts and postcards on the street for a couple of bucks each. Finally, he made it into a group show at an art gallery. People and critics loved his work, and in no time people were paying $50,000 or more for one of his pieces.

The child of a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, Jean-Michel Basquiat brought the Black and Latino experience into the fine art world. His art was angry and harsh, yet also poetic. He was able to express a reality that had long been excluded from elite society.

Sadly, with fame came a serious drug problem—Basquiat became addicted to heroin. At one point, he traveled to Hawaii to try to break the habit. Though he said he was clean when he returned to New York, it didn't last long. On August 12, 1988, he died of a heroin overdose. He was 27 years old.

Basquiat's reputation has continued to grow since his death. In May 2017, a Japanese billionaire purchased the painting above, "Untitled", for $110.5 million, the most ever paid up to that time for a work by an American artist.

Describe the painting, "Untitled", shown at the top of this article. Use vivid vocabulary so that a person who can't see the painting can imagine it. Do Homework
What does "Untitled" make you feel? Why? Do Homework
If you had all the money in the world, would you pay $110 million dollars—or even $50,000—for a painting? What sort of painting would you pay a lot of money for? Do Homework
In your opinion, is there a link between creativity and drug/alcohol addiction? Do Homework