1960-88 African-American artist, one of the 20th Century Painters.
He started by making graffiti with permanent markers in New York City. Also made drawings on paper, painted on t-shirts and other 'found surfaces' made assemblages out of found objects.
In the late 70's and early 80's, he made the scene at the New York Art Scene hot spots: CBGB's, the Mudd Club, The Sin Club and 'Club 57'. It was Basquiat who first inspired Keith Haring to begin his career using the format of Graffiti. As such he is considered part of Pop Art. He also became friends with Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol.
In 1981, he was part of a show at the PS1 Gallery and it was here that he was first recognized. He was still homeless for all practical purposes, getting kicked out of one hotel after another.
In 1982, he had a one man show in the "Fun Gallery" in the East Village. This greatly spread his fame.
In 1983, he was shown in the Whitney Museum of American Art.
By 1985, he became one of the most famous and successful artists in America. He was featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.
In 1988, died of heroin overdose.
There was also a 1996 movie made based on his life by the same name, starring Jeffrey Wright in the title role, plus Christopher Walken, David Bowie who plays Warhol brilliantly, Dennis Hopper and Willem Dafoe.
His work is in the permanent collection of:
Hager, Steven, "Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene", ST. Martin's Press, NY, 1986.