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Boom for Real

Photo of Basquiat wearing an Adidas tshirt, suit and football helmet

The first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

Discover the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the pioneering prodigy of the 1980s downtown New York art scene. This unprecedented exhibition brought together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works from international museums and private collections. Visitors could engage in the explosive creativity of Basquiat who worked with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Blondie, among others.

Featuring rare film, photography and archive material, the show captured the spirit of this self-taught artist, poet, DJ and musician whose influence, since his death at 27 in 1988, has been enormous.

Large Print Exhibition Guide

Exhibition Interview Transcript

This exhibition has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Basquiat Exhibition Circle and our sponsors, NET-A-PORTER, PHILLIPS and tp bennett. The public programme is funded by Cockayne Grants for the Arts, a donor-advised fund of the London Community Foundation. The development of this exhibition was supported in part by an Art Fund Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Research Grant. Outdoor Media Partner: Jack Arts. Hotel partner: ACE Hotels.


‘An exhilarating glimpse behind the myth‘


Photo of poet Jack Miguel in Basquiat

Watch: Poet Jack Miguel performs 'Casino'

Poet and rapper Jack Miguel performs his piece Casino, inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat's work, in the 'Self-Portrait' room of Basquiat: Boom for Real.

Photo of two people looking at Basquiat painting

Basquiat: A 360 Exhibition Tour

Look around the gallery in our 360 video as curator Eleanor Nairne and Gus Casely-Hayford take you on a private tour, exploring the influences Basquiat brought into his paintings. 

Photo of curator Diego Cortez

Barbican Meets: Diego Cortez

Curator Diego Cortez shares his reflections on knowing and working with Basquiat and guides us around the exhibition's partial recreation of Basquiat's first exhibition, 'New York / New Wave' at PS1, curated by Cortez in 1981.

Photo of Basquiat's studio

Listen: On Basquiat's Playlist

Music was integral to Basquiat’s creative process, seeping into the canvas itself as more than just something to listen to in the studio.

From Prince to David Byrne, Donna Summer to Bach, listen to the music that might have been on his playlist. 

photo of black top in the art gallery

Watch: Barbican Sessions- Black Top


In the first of our Barbican Sessions, Black Top, the duo of multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson and pianist Pat Thomas, perform a live concert after hours in our 'Basquiat: Boom for Real' exhibition.

With thanks

Barbican Art Gallery