Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) is known as one of the most influential American artists in the graffiti and neo-expressionist movements who reinvigorated the New York art scene of the 1980s. His story and rise to fame has been a hot topic in the art world, and his legacy lives on through numerous interpretations of his life and work. From literature to fashion brands, discover the other art forms that are paying hommage to Jean-Michel Basquiat and keeping his image alive.
Graphic Novels and Biographies
Multiple graphic novelists have recreated Basquiat’s life in comic book form, portraying a New York City of an era long gone and giving readers a view inside the mind of a “struggling artist.” Two notable interpretations with strong visual aesthetics include Basquiat: A Graphic Novel by Paolo Parisi, and Basquiat by Julian Voloj et Soren Mosdal, the latter which was recently translated and published in French on February 5th, 2020.
There are also numerous biographies and art books that put his work front and center alongside commentary from art critics who give perspectives on the themes he engaged with and his artistic development. In 2018, Taschen published the most comprehensive edition of his works to date in a 500-page supersized hardcover, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Texts by editor Hans Werner Holzwarth and art historian Eleanor Nairne are placed alongside Basquiat’s oeuvre, from iconic paintings to drawings and notebook sketches. If you’re looking for an account of Basquiat that is more intimate and from a nuanced perspective, check out Widow Basquiat: A Love Story by Jennifer Clement, which is told through the lens of his partner and muse Suzanne Mallouk.
In the early 80s, Basquiat starred in an indie film called Downtown 81 that later premiered after his death at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. The film provides a rare look into the gritty world of New York City at the time, and captures its post-punk era and cultural scenes. For a comprehensive documentary about the artist’s life and social milieu, there is Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010) that includes extensive interviews with the artist when he was just 25 years old at the height of his career.
Collaborations with Fashion Brands
A handful of fashion brands have partnered with the Basquiat Estate to reproduce his artwork onto clothing, shoes, bags, and more. From brands like Reebok and Supreme, to Uniqlo and Comme des Garçons, Basquiat’s urban style has merged with fashion time and time again. Even the luxury street wear brand OFF-WHITE launched a Basquiat-inspired collection, including tees, hoodies, and phone cases in his signature aesthetic.
In a similar street style aesthetic, the Belgian company The Skateroom launched a line of art skateboards featuring the work of Basquiat. The collection is featured as triptychs spread across the underside of three boards, bringing a new interpretation to the work.