Jean-Michel Basquiat grew up as the son of an accountant and spent his youth as a graffiti artist. Before he knew it, the young Basquiat had been catapulted to the heights of fame because of his blackness, good looks and lack of formal art training, which gave him an aura of naive perfection with the air of a celebrity rock-star. While the New York art scene was being flooded with new money, the pitfalls of success snatched up Basquiat as he got caught in an explosive mix of drugs and sex – all leading to his notoriously tragic and young death at the age of 27.
Phoebe Hoban’s biography sheds light on the chaos of this short life in the context of the arcane dealings of the booming international art market of the 1980s and rightfully places Basquiat’s life and work in context along his contemporaries like Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring, and most importantly his mentor, Andy Warhol.
First published in 1988, re-printed with a brand new binding in 2015