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Remembering a Legend: The Enduring Legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat

In his eulogy for Jean-Michel, Jeffrey Deitch shared the following words:

“Somehow Jean-Michel had managed to intuitively absorb most of modern art history before he was twenty. His first publicly exhibited works caused a sensation and were immediately compared to those of some of the great modern artists. But Jean-Michel's statement was uniquely his own.

He invented a vocabulary, a sense of composition, a new way to use the medium of painting that captured the intensity and the disjointed quality of today's urban reality. Jean-Michel's statement summed up what was happening on TV, in the galleries, and on the streets, churning the languages of modern and pre-modern art to encompass a totally contemporary vision… Many of us have very strong memories and will miss him badly. But in Jean-Michel's case, it's more than memories that will live on. He has left behind not just memories but a legend. I am sure that a hundred years from now and even beyond, people will still be astounded by his work.”

Originally published in Anna Palmqvist, ed., Jean-Michel Basquiat / Julian Schnabel. Uddevalla, Sweden: Rooseum, 1989.

Photo: Julio Donoso / Sygma via Getty Images

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