Boom For Real
A new exhibition in London offers a look at the work of a cool young artist.
In the 1980s, New York, US, was a very different city to what it is today. Downtown Manhattan, the heart of the city, was a rough-and-ready place. In the 1970s and 1980s, rogues mixed with creatives, and artists worked freely, turning their hand to whatever they liked and creating brand-new art forms. These were the first days of hip-hop and graffiti – days when painting and music collided in a whirlwind of colour and beats.
Into this incredible environment strode a young artist called Jean-Michel Basquiat. His work was instantly recognisable, and the people around him soon recognised his talent. At the beginning of his career, he used the streets as his canvas; he and his friend sprayed graffiti on the walls of the city, writing mysterious, poetic slogans for the people of New York to think about.
Basquiat started a band, and quickly began painting – bonkers, colourful pictures full of strange images: skeletons and crowns, saxophones and boxers.
These paintings are the subject of a new exhibition of his work at the Barbican Centre in London. Boom For Real, named after one of his catchphrases, takes us all the way through his short but magnificent career (he passed away at the age of 27). The largest collection of his paintings ever assembled in the UK, this exhibition of Basquiat’s work is like nothing else. A booklet full of activities for younger visitors has been designed to guide you through the unique and vivid scribbles that offer a snapshot into the ideas that whizzed around in his mind.
For more information, check out tinyurl.com/TWJ-boom
Under-14s go free.
An untitled Basquiat painting