Jean-Michel Basquiat (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ miˈʃɛl baskija]; December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an 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.
American painter and draftsman rapidly rose to fame in the 1980s with his graffiti and more conventional paintings on canvas and paper. While still unknown, he would spray paint cryptic phrases on buildings under the name 'Samo'. Basquiat's paintings and drawings were influenced by commercial art and popular imagery. He frequently used textual elements in his work that provided social commentary based on stereotypical black images and events. In 1983 he met Andy Warhol, with whom he collaborated. Basquiat died of a drug overdose in 1988. American artist.