boom for real: a dictionary of basquiat

Even a cursory glance around the Barbican’s new Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition will reveal to you the New York artist’s love of words. From the early pages of poetry torn from his notebooks to graffiti tags under the SAMO© alias, and his most famous paintings, Jean-Michel used words and phrases for comedic and symbolic effect. His intended references often appear deliberately obfuscated, but range from nods to TV and film, to Heavyweight boxers, ancient Egyptian mythology, human biology, and anti-capitalist and anti-racist sentiments. Here we decode a few of his most famous and ubiquitous words, phrases and motifs…

Read “boom for real: a dictionary of basquiat” on i-D.

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