Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an influential American artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent.
Basquiat first achieved fame 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 rap, punk, and street art coalesced into early hip-hop music culture.
By the 1980s, his neo-expressionist paintings were being exhibited in galleries and museums internationally.
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, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.
The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his art in 1992.