Basquiat Not The SAMO Fine Art 

 Jean-Michel Basquiat, A Thank You Note

What was avant-garde about Jean-Michel Basquiat was that he didn’t define fine art, he revolutionized it. 

From humble Brooklyn, New York beginnings, his SAMO graffiti raw proclamations zipped from urban brick walls to crisp SOHO galleries at a deafening pace. He challenged what was fine and what was art with “in your face” scrutiny of the society of the day, doubled down with realism and innocence.

Basquiat’s style gave way to critical thought

Beloved for the natural scribble and fluid relaxation of his brush strokes, and criticized by high society all the same. The intense simplicity of his ever-present golden 3 point crown, poetry, and unmistakable, relatable depictions of people, animals, and monsters could not be denied.

Basquiat changed what fine art could be

It was the seeming disorder and intellectual richness of his pieces that would make owning a 1980s era piece worth over 100 million dollars today, albeit a priceless acquisition.  It is likely if Basquiat were alive in this era, he’d still be finding hundreds of dollars in his couch cushions–he made art because he had to. 

 Unbeknownst to Basquiat his creative freedom and neo-expressionist works would open the flood gates of fine art galleries and welcome the underdog. A collision of the street art world with the luxury and exclusivity of the fine art domain was imminent. 

Although not all art connoisseurs appreciated his work, Basquiat and his minimalist authenticity needed no invitation. He taught artists that would follow him the same emboldened movements of freedom.

Basquiats Legacy Lives On In Fine Art

After his untimely death in August 1988, by heroin overdose, his legacy proved expansive and ethereal. His iconic style proved art that could emerge from dark dank New York allies, onto massive stretched canvas, junkyard doors, and windows were worth their weight in acrylic and canned paint. Fine art, to be fine, had to be in a word—social. And he had the world talking. Basquiat’s work was a war cry, not fixed on the pretense of luxury but on the truth. Not caring who saw it but only that it was seen.

Fine art is tugging at the scales on the eyes and leaving in its wake, a new vision. Thank you, Jean-Michel Basquiat, for your vision and transparency.