Language in the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, from graffiti to word as motif.
In the wild New York of the 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat was the first African-American artist to receive art-world attention. The complexity and trailblazing innovative power of his paintings has been widely discussed, but this book focuses on the treatment of language in Basquiat's oeuvre. With its complex structures, spontaneous rhythms and sampled, collage-like manifestations, his work was drawn into the orbit of the Beat Generation poets and the protagonists of the musical avant-garde. The multitalented Basquiat created a shimmering, syncopated fabric of images and text, which the American curator and critic Robert Storr aptly called "eye rap." It was with this unpretentious and spontaneous way of working that Basquiat rewrote art history.