Jean-Michel Basquiat Bio

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was an American artist associated with the Neo-expressionism movement. In the late 1970s, Basquiat rose to fame as part of the graffiti duo SAMO with Al Diaz in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where he painted short poetic phrases or statements tagged "SAMO©". A few years later, Basquiat’s work was being shown in museums and galleries worldwide. Basquiat—only 21 at the time—became the youngest artist to exhibit at documenta, an exhibition of contemporary art taking place every five years in Kassel, Germany. In 1983, he was one of the youngest artists to have work exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in New York—when he was 22 years old. Before his tragic death at the age of only 27, Basquiat completed thousands of paintings and drawings, which explore important themes surrounding wealth, race, and identity.