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Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988); American artist. He first achieved notoriety as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s where the hip hop, post-punk, and street art movements had coalesced. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his neo-expressionist paintings in galleries and museums internationally. The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his art in 1992.
Basquiat's art focused on "suggestive dichotomies", such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, and figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.
Basquiat used social commentary in his paintings as a "springboard to deeper truths about the individual", as well as attacks on power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle. He died of a heroin overdose at his art studio at age 27.
A precocious child, Basquiat learned to read and write by age 4 and was a gifted artist. His teachers noticed his artistic abilities, and his mother encouraged her son's artistic talent. By age 11, Basquiat was fully fluent in French, Spanish and English. In 1967, Basquiat started attending Saint Ann's, an arts-oriented exclusive private school. He drew with Marc Prozzo, a friend from St. Ann's; together they created a children's book, written by Basquiat and illustrated by Prozzo....
In Sept. 1968, when Basquiat was about 8, he was hit by a car while playing in the street... While he was recuperating from his injuries, his mother brought him Gray's Anatomy to keep him occupied. This book would prove to be influential in his future artistic outlook.... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Michel_Basquiat)