An icon of 1980s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) first made his name under the graffiti tag “SAMO,” before establishing his studio practice and catapulting to fast fame at the age of 20. Although his career lasted barely a decade, he remains a cult figure of artistic social commentary, and a trailblazer in the mediation of graffiti and gallery art.
Basquiat’s work drew upon diverse sources and media to create an original and urgent artistic vocabulary, biting with critique against structures of power and racism. His practice merged abstraction and figuration, poetry and painting, while his influences spanned Greek, Roman, and African art, French poetry, jazz,and the work of artistic contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. The results are vivid, visceral mixtures of words, African emblems, cartoonish figures, daubs of bold color, and beyond.
This book presents Basquiat’s short but prolific career, his unique style, and his profound engagement with ever-relevant issues of integration and segregation, poverty and wealth.
It all began in 1985 when the very first original TASCHEN publication and inaugural Basic Art title, Picasso, was released. A game-changing series was born! Since then, these succinct and slimline books have developed into a true treasure trove. Nearly 200 titles, translated into some 20 languages, and offering an introductory who’s who of art history, architecture, and design, this series became the world’s best-selling art book collection ever published.
Each title from the Basic Art Series provides a comprehensive introduction to a significant artist, architect, or designer. The publications offer a detailed chronological summary of the artist’s life and work and analyze their historical importance and cultural legacy. Readers are taken through the subjects’ biographies and become familiar with key works illustrated in high quality reproductions. From Bauhaus to Basquiat, the series includes books on Bacon, Eames, Gaudí, Haring, de Lempicka, Dalí, Klimt, Koons, Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, O’Keeffe, Kahlo, Mies van der Rohe, Pop Art, Rothko, Surrealism and much more.
For its 30th anniversary, we beamed this much loved series up to its new 21st century orbit: revised, newly designed, and hardcover bound — but still at a rock-bottom price! The series originated as A4 size folios but the new Basic Art comes in a much more manageable size; easily portable so that you can go mobile with your extensive knowledge of cultural history. The art book series details the individuals whose practices have shaped the development of art and design but it also records larger art movements in titles where you can explore the context of a generation and appreciate the galvanizing spirt of the collective. An essential element to any library, the Basic Art Series are the quintessential TASCHEN art books.
“These seductive books have slick production values, excellent illustrations, and smart texts. Each one is a fast-food, high-energy fix on the topic at hand.” – The New York Times Book Review