"I'm not a real person, I'm a legend."
Jean-Michel Basquiat, born December 22, 1960 knew the last part about himself before the rest of the world knew. A lot of people will discover Basquiat (and this site!) after the tremendous, record-breaking auction on May 17, 2017 that solidly placed Basquiat in the American Master category, but who is he?
Simply put: Jean-Michel Basquiat is an artist of the Neo-Expressionism and Conceptual tradition, who is an American Master, the first (and surely not the only) Black artist who has come the closest to be placed in the art historical canon. He was born in Brooklyn, died in Manhattan and travelled everywhere else in between. He's in Jay-Z and Kanye lyrics. He dated Madonna. He collaborated with some of the greats, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. But he's so much more than that.
So much of the myth and the "tabloid truth", so to speak, surround Jean-Michel Basquiat, and our hope with this Project is to allow a different side of Basquiat to also enter the conversation: the real human. The death of Michael Stewart and the painting of Defacement had a huge impact on Jean-Michel Basquiat and affected him for the rest of his life. We think that it's time to explore what that mean to him, as a human being.