An exhibition was recently organised at Perez Art Museum in Miami to display Basquiat works with a title ‘Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks’ to provide a fresh look into the genius mind of the artist. In this exhibition all types of works of Basquiat including poems, sketches and notes were displayed to reveal the artist’s personal side who became one of the most regarded and highly priced iconic artists of the world at the young age of 27. Though Basquiat died in 1988 due to overdose of heroin but still there are certain things about him and his works which you would like to know. Some of these facts are briefly described here under for your consideration.
Basquiat was the son of Puerto Rican mother and Haitian immigrant father who fled the regime of Papa Doc Duvalier, the dictator, after the murder of his brother and imprisonment of his parents.
Basquiat could speak English, Spanish as well as Creole.
His spleen was removed after getting hit by a car at the age of six years which later on affected his health.
When he was teenager he ran from his Brooklyn home and remained homeless for few days.
In late 70s he attracted the attention of the art world as a graffiti painter. He was known for writing mysterious poems, by using the name of SAMO, on the walls of the downtown Soho, an art district of New York.
The notebooks of Basquiat displayed in the Miami’s Perez Art Museum were searched by the mates of Basquiat, Nicholas Taylor, with whom he lived for some time, and Michael Holman, who joined him in an art, punk or experimental band known as Gray.
Once he went to a restaurant where he met his idol, Andy Warhol, who was eating and selling some cards containing the first Basquiat works. After this both the artists became intimate friends and created many paintings in collaboration.
Suzanne Mallouk, who was half-Palestinian, was the girlfriend of Basquiat with whom he courted when she worked as a bartender at a downtown bar to support him when he started to make arts after coming home weeping from his regular job one day. He filled not only her home with his paintings but also her refrigerator.
Basquiat also appeared as a DJ for some time in a hit video ?€Rapture’ created for Blondie that introduced rap culture to mainstream pop music.
The death of Michael Stewart greatly affected Basquiat as this young black artist of the downtown club was killed in 1983 by the police for labelling in a subway station. This incident was known as one of the most brutal instances of the New York police. Basquiat wished to be there after learning about the death of Stewart.
Though he loved Hawaii but after recently returning from the island to his home he said that he has stopped taking drugs and had died at home due to the overdose of heroin.
Some of the Basquiat works have made record as some of his paintings were sold in last May for over $57 million. He would have been 55 years old if had been alive till now.