Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88) burst onto the art scene in the summer of 1980. By 1982, at the age of twenty-one, he had solo exhibitions in galleries in Italy, New York, and Los Angeles, and his career followed the rapid trajectory of a booming Wall Street. In the span of just a few years, this Black body from Brooklyn had become one of the most famous artists of the 1980s. Eight years after his first exhibition, Basquiat was dead, but his popularity has only grown.
The Jean-Michel Basquiat Reader (University of California Press, 2021) is the first comprehensive sourcebook on the artist, closing gaps that have until now limited the sustained study and definitive archiving of his work and its impact. Through a combination of interviews with the artist, criticism from the artist’s lifetime and immediately after, previously unpublished research by the author, and a selection of the most important critical essays on the artist’s work, this collection provides a full picture of the artist’s views on art and culture, his working process, and the critical significance of his work both then and now.
In her talk Professor Saggese will discuss this new book — the result of more than two decades of work on this iconic American artist.
Jordana Moore Saggese is an Associate Professor of American Art at the University of Maryland, College Park and the former Editor-in-Chief of the College Art Association’s Art Journal. Trained as an art historian, Saggese’s work focuses on modern and contemporary American art with an emphasis on the critical expressions of Blackness. She is an internationally recognized expert on the work of the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88). Her most recent book,The Jean-Michel Basquiat Reader: Writings, Interviews, and Critical Responses was published in March 2021 by the University of California Press.
Organised by Professor David Peters Corbett (The Courtauld) and Dr Tom Day (The Courtauld).