Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 - 1988)
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Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Neo-expressionist and Primitivist painter who was born in Brooklyn, New York. After dropping out of Edward R. Murrow High School in tenth grade, he supported himself by selling T-shirts and homemade post cards and by working at the Unique Clothing Warehouse in West Broadway in Manhattan. In 1976, Basquiat's interest in graffiti art emerged. Working under the pseudonym SAMO, Basquiat's spray-paintings could be seen on buildings in Lower Manhattan and had inscribed messages such as "Plush safe he think…SAMO." In 1980, Basquiat met Andy Warhol, who was stunned by his allure, leading to a collaboration called Downtown 81. Basquiat's work revolves around single heroic figures. He would also often draw on random objects. His paintings are usually covered with text and and codes. Further, he did not hesitate to represent African heritage in his art, as in Irony of Negro Policeman (1981). Basquiat's first public exhibition was in the group "The Times Square Show" held at 41st Street and Seventh Avenue in New York. In 1981, Basquiat joined the Annina Nosei gallery in SoHo, where his first one-person exhibition took place in 1982.