JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (1960-1988) Attrib., Title: Untitled, Medium: Mixed media on paper, Date: Circa 1980, Size: 11 ¾ x 11 in. COA. Was an influential African-American artist who rose to success during the 1980s. He is largely responsible for elevating graffiti into the realm of the New York art world, alongside Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. His tangled patches of color, symbolic crowns, and scribbled words, reference everything from his Haitian and Puerto Rican heritage, to political issues, pop-culture icons, and Biblical verse. The gestural marks and expressive nature of his work aligned him with other heavyweight artists of the era, including the Neo-Expressionist painters Julian Schnabel and David Salle. “If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you've got to realize that influence is not influence,” he said of his process. “It's simply someone's idea going through my new mind.” Born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, NY, Basquiat never finished high school but developed an appreciation for art as a youth, thanks to his many visits to the Brooklyn Museum of Art with his mother. His early work consisted of tagging building and trains in downtown New York alongside his friend Al Diaz, using the now infamous pseudonym SAMO. After a quick rise to fame in the early 1980s, Basquiat was befriended by many celebrity artists of the time, including Andy Warhol, with whom he made several collaborative works. At only 27, his troubles with fame and drug addiction led to his tragic death from an overdose on August 12, 1988 in New York, NY. The Whitney Museum of American Art held the artist’s first retrospective from October 1992 to February 1993. In 2017, after having set Basquiat’s auction record the previous year with a $57.3 million purchase, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa surpassed it, buying the artist’s Untitled (1982), at Sotheby's for $110.5 million. Setting the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for an American artist's work. Today, his works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.