Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective coming to the AGO
Opening a couple of months after this winter's Art Spiegelman exhibition, The AGO has another blockbuster show in the works: Canada's first large-scale retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The NYC graffiti/fine art artist rose to fame in the 80's only to tragically join the so-called "27 club," dying of a heroin overdose in 1988. His often massive paintings (Jay Z is a collector) are fascinating to behold in person, as child-like sketches and sardonic scrawled wordplay tackle issues of racism, social justice, and politics that are (unfortunately) just as relevant today.
The Toronto Basquiat exhibition, curated by Austrian art historian, curator, and critic Dieter Buchhart, will be "the first thematic examination of the artist's work" - though the paintings tend to speak for themselves thematically no matter how they're arranged, so perhaps Buchhart is getting a little ahead of himself. Nonetheless this will be a significant show, and any excuse to watch David Bowie as Andy Warhol in Basquiat is gladly received. Lets hope the AGO calls local artist Henry Benvenuti to speak - any chance to hear to him talk New York stories is a gift.
Basquiat opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario Feb. 7, 2015 and runs until May 10, 2015.