Jean-Michel Basquiat 1981

The Studio of the Street

By Jeffrey Deitch (Editor); Franklin Sirmans (Editor); Nicola Vassell (Editor)
(Charta, Hardcover, 9788881586257, 245pp.)

Publication Date: February 2007

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In 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat made the momentous transition from the street to the studio. He had attracted considerable attention with his "Times Square Show" the summer before, and reinforced that nascent notoriety with a wall of phenomenal works in Diego Cortez's "New York/New Wave" at P.S. 1, which opened the following winter. A few months later, the dealer Annina Nosei offered Basquiat an independent space in which to prepare work for her September group show, "Public Address." He was only 20. Between the world of spray-painted poetry and what critic Peter Schjeldahl called "New York big-painting aesthetics" lies a fantastic coming-of-age: "Jean-Michel Basquiat: 1981: The Studio of the Street" includes paintings and drawings on everything from note cards to sheet metal to a leather jacket and conventional canvas. In them, as throughout his career, Basquiat married an exuberant spontaneity and art-brut sensibility with a firm command of not only art materials but art history. He would go on to define the 80s Neo-Expressionist idiom, and to remain its most compelling representative. "The Studio of the Street" examines this charged point of contact in works that show the artist's progression from text to text-and-image, from found materials to traditional canvasses, and from pure drawing to his uniquely evocative hybrid of drawing and painting.

About the Author
Jeffrey Deitch presented several exhibitions with Kehinde Wiley at Deitch Projects, New York, a commercial gallery that opened in 1996 and produced more than two hundred and fifty projects. Deitch has worked as a curator and dealer of modern and contemporary art and an advisor to private and institutional art collectors for forty years.

Franklin Sirmans is the Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the artistic director of Prospect.3, New Orleans. At LACMA he has organized Futbol: The Beautiful Game (2014), among other exhibitions, and coordinated Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Head (2011) and Glenn Ligon: America (2011). In 2006‒10, he was Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection, Houston, where he organized NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith (2008) and solo shows with Maurizio Cattelan, Vija Celmins, and Steve Wolfe.

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