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Jean-Michel Basquiat's key works to go on display in Ontario

The exhibition, showcasing the noted works of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat whose career began as a grafitti artist, will thematically explore Basquiat's work from the beginning of his career till his death at the age of 27.

art and culture Updated: Jun 24, 2015 16:23 IST
Jean-Michel Basquiat,Basquiar Art Exhibition,Grafitti Artist

American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's career was short but his work was many-faceted as he covered many themes in his art.

In what is being dubbed as an unprecedented move in Europe, noted American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat's key works of art will be on exhibition in July at the Guggenheim Bilbao.

Around 100 key, large-scale works of Basquiat, whose artworks caused a stir in the art world during the 1980s before his death in 1988, will be featured in 'Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now's the Time' July 3 onwards till November 1. The exhibition is organised in the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Basquiat's 'Self Potrait', 1984 (AFP )

The artist's output began with conceptual graffiti on the walls of lower Manhattan, and he continued to reference street art in his work, using materials such as salvaged doors and packing crates as canvases. As his renown grew, Basquiat began a famous friendship with Andy Warhol, collaborated with Keith Haring and travelled in circles with David Bowie and Madonna.

The Bilbao exhibition takes the form of a thematic exploration of Basquiat's work divided into eight sections, starting with two that feature his early work -- "Street as Studio," delving into his graffiti work and highlighted by "Untitled/Car Crash" (1981) and "Number 4" (1981), and "Heroes and Saints," showing paintings in which he depicted black men as kings and saints.

"Dark Milk," 1986 (AFP)

Other sections of the exhibition feature works adressing racism, black history and the African diaspora ("Water Worshipper," "Moses and the Eqyptians"), portraits of people he knew or admired, and his collages using cartoon images.

The artist's collaborations with high-profile contemporaries get a place of honour: Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf are all represented, including the Warhol collaborations "Win $1,000,000" and "Sin More!"

The final section of the show delves into Basquiat's forays into music -- notably hip-hop, whose rise, as organisers point out, paralleled his own.

First Published: Jun 24, 2015 12:32 IST