It’s striking. The ghostly head, painted in bold lines, floats on a bright blue background. With angry eyes, the face gnashes its teeth out at the world, as blood-red streaks pull its black skull.
“Untitled,” brings Jean-Michel Basquiat’s unique energy to the Brooklyn Museum. The six-week show opened late January, and allows New Yorkers to experience the work up close, and say goodbye before “Untitled” travels to its permanent home in Japan, reported the German news agency.
Skulls were an often-used symbol of Basquiat, a Brooklyn native of African-Caribbean descent. The artist, who died in 1988 at age 27, frequently explored his roots as he navigated the art scene of New York’s Soho district.
The solo exhibition of “Untitled” pays homage to a hometown hero. Basquiat was connected to the Brooklyn Museum from an early age. His mother enrolled him as a junior member as a child, and often took him to the Metropolitan Museum.
Soon he commuted between Brooklyn and Manhattan, surrounding himself with musicians and graffiti artists. He tagged walls under the pseudonym “SAMO” long before gallery owners and collectors considered “street art” to be art.
Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa bought “Untitled” for $110.5 million from Sotheby’s. The overwhelming sum is the highest price ever paid for an American artist’s work.