Happy birthday to Jean-Michel Basquiat, who would have been 52 years old today.
A remarkable capacity for introspection and distillation made itself apparent in the graffiti work of Basquiat’s teen years, wherein he adopted the pseudonym SAMO and sprayed messages onto walls throughout NYC. This craft of creating metaphors, and a sense of play in staging opposing dichotomies (integration and segregation, wealth and poverty, etc.) came to define his work as a painter.
Pictured here is a detail of Untitled (Venus/The Great Circle), a work currently on view as part of the Logan Collection at SFMOMA.