Basquiat: Boom for Real

21 September 2017 - 28 January 2018
Art Gallery
Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960—1988).

A pioneering prodigy of the downtown New York art scene, Basquiat came to the media’s attention in 1978 when he teamed up with his classmate Al Diaz to graffiti enigmatic statements across the city under the collective pseudonym SAMO©, before swiftly becoming one of the most celebrated artists of his generation.

Drawing from international museums and private collections, Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never before seen in the UK, including a partial reconstruction of the first body of work that Basquiat exhibited, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York / New Wave at PS1 in 1981.

Basquiat, a famously self-taught artist, sampled from an extraordinary breadth of source material, from anatomical drawings to bebop jazz. This is the first exhibition to focus on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, offering new research that will enable some of his most acclaimed paintings and drawings to be understood as never before.

Basquiat: Boom for Real
is curated by Dr Dieter Buchhart and Eleanor Nairne, Curator, Barbican Art Gallery and organised in collaboration with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

Pre-order the exhibition catalogue

Please note, the exhibition will close at 6pm on Thursday 5 October for a private event.

Advance booking essential.
No bags (including handbags) - a free cloakroom is available adjacent to the exhibition entrance.
No photography.



Sponsored by






Public programme supported by





Official hotel partner


With additional support from

The development of this exhibition was supported in part by an Art Fund Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Research Grant.

Outdoor Media Partner: Jack Arts.

Barbican Art Gallery in London presents major exhibitions by leading international figures in the heart of the City of London

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