October 02 - November 27, 1998
TEMOIGNAGE 1977-1988
galerie jerome de noirmont

Jean-Michel BASQUIAT Portrait of the artist as a young derelict, 1982 (detail) Acrylic , oil and 203,2 x 208,3 cm.

exhibition release

After the retrospective dedicated to Andy Warhol (November 29, 1996 - January 25, 1997) and that of Jeff Koons (September 30 - November 29, 1997) is a retrospective-testimony of Jean-Michel Basquiat with a simple and chronological path.


Regrouping more than 40 works (drawings, paintings, sculpture) dated from 1977 to 1988, this exhibition aims to introduce to initiated amateurs some never before seen works and permit the general public to better understand the iconography and the personality of this creator, an emblematic figure of 80´s American art .


The first room will contain about 10 drawings from 1977 to 1981, the epoch of SAMO.  In this exceptional group one will discover the portrait of SAMO, so notorious, yet never exposed, and other creations clearly inspired by comic strips.


The main gallery will be exclusively devoted to masterpieces of 1982, the year in which Jean-Michel Basquiat seemed to have an incredible force and lucidity, having an amazing ease playing with supports.  One will see notably:

Portrait of the Artist as a  Young Derelict;

Head of a Fryer;

Red Scull;

Head of the Mandibule.


The stairs gallery will show works on paper from 1982 - 1983, affirming once again, if it was still necessary, his perfect mastery of drawing and Leonardo de Vinci´s influence on his anatomy, scientific and technical drawings.


On the first floor, a number of works from 1984 to 1988 will be presented, including collaborations with Andy Warhol.  These drawings and paintings focus principally on the « black figure » and the iconography of the black American culture with jazz, boxing, and the symbolic codes of the consuming society.


Since this is a « testimony » (témoignage) with a historical character, this exhibition will also be displaying catalogues, books, photographs, and souvenirs... starting with the anatomy book of Henry Gray, a continual source of inspiration and knowledge for Basquiat from 1968 and « The Subterraneans » by Jack Kerouac, his bedside book during 1986 - 1988.


The reception will showcase photographs with Jean-Michel; anonymous or illustrated, some never published, they capture his long awaited moments, such as his trip to the Ivory Coast.  One will also see exhibition posters.


            Thus when leaving the exhibition, having seen these authentic testimonies and this assemblage of original works, each one will have the freedom to form his own opinion of the place of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the history of 20th century art