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Jean-Michel Basquiat was only twenty-seven when he died in 1988, his meteoric and often controversial career having lasted for just eight years. Despite his early death, Basquiat's powerful A uvre has ensured his continuing reputation as one of modern art's most distinctive voices. Borrowing from graffiti and street imagery, cartoons, mythology and religious symbolism, Basquiat's drawings and paintings explore issues of race and identity, providing social commentary that is shrewdly observed and biting. This bestselling book, now available in a compact edition, celebrates Basquiat's achievements in the contexts of the key influences on his art. It not only re-evaluates the artist's principal works and their meaning, but also explains what keeps his painting relevant today.
Fred Hoffman is Ahmanson Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Kellie Jones is Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York. Marc Mayer is Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. Franklin Sirmans is Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection, Houston.