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Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective coming to the AGO

Posted by Aubrey Jax / July 24, 2014

BasquiatOpening 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.



Listen To The Colour / July 24, 2014 at 02:09 pm
This is great news. After missing out on Kusama, Riley, West Of Center, and other touring exhibitions, Toronto will get something (relatively) modern to sink its teeth into. Can't wait!
Kirsten replying to a comment from Listen To The Colour / July 24, 2014 at 04:56 pm
I agree. Looking forward to this exhibit.
Sam Smith / July 25, 2014 at 12:00 am
Why does this writer have to mention Jay Z is a collector as if THAT would give more value or reason to see this show?

Cause anyone that is interested in this painter just because 'Jay Z' likes him (Thereby showing that they feel his opinion is 'better' than their own) is an idiot.
Leigh Cooney replying to a comment from Sam Smith / July 25, 2014 at 08:49 am
Agreed. Although I thought the same thing about her mention of him joining the so-called "27 club." He died young. It's tragic, no need to thrown around junk history when a little research will tell you that there is NOT a disproportionate number of famous people dying at 27. And even if there were, it would be a coincidence and not worthy of mention by a journalist.
Cindy / July 26, 2014 at 02:39 pm
OMG! Finally! Worth coming back to the AGO!
maybe Keith
GRBY / July 28, 2014 at 10:00 am
This will be an incredible exhibit. I love his work. I'll be there for sure.

Why not mention Jay-Z as a collector? He's a brilliant artist himself. Basquiat's work speaks for itself, but no harm is done in mentioning that Jay-Z collects his work.
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Rene Stienstra / December 30, 2014 at 02:01 am
Big Basquiat fan. I will be flying in from Melbourne Australia to see this show.
Missed the one in Brooklyn years ago and the one in Paris in 2010.
This time I,m not going to miss this.
Spaz replying to a comment from GRBY / December 30, 2014 at 03:00 pm
Jay Z only collects Basquiat because his investment/PR team told him it would be good for investment portfolio and rep. I doubt Jay Z actually sought him out or actually really into art. Well, he might say he's into Basquiat to increase his rep.
Tees replying to a comment from Spaz / January 9, 2015 at 10:26 am
You're an idiot.
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