How Basquiat, graffiti and hip-hop culture stormed the art world in the 1980s

Gabriella Angeleti (The Art Newspaper) reviews the exhibition “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” in “From the streets to the studio: show explores how Basquiat, graffiti and hip-hop culture stormed the art world in the 1980s.”  The show—which also includes works by Rammellzee, Keith Haring, Kool Koor and Lady Pink—remains on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, until May 16, 2021.

The exhibition Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is the first museum show to chart Jean-Michel Basquiat’s relationship to hip-hop culture and to contextualise his practice in relation to other Black and Latinx artists and musicians of the time. The show delineates the history of the “post-graffiti” movement that emerged in the early 1980s with Basquiat as its figurehead and in which artists switched their focus from the streets to the studio.

“Basquiat and the post-graffiti artists shared a conceptual approach rooted in the practices of early hip-hop, a cross-disciplinary and then-nascent culture that encompasses graffiti art as one of its foundational elements,” says the museum’s curator of contemporary art, Liz Munsell.

“Music is just one element of hip-hop culture,” Munsell says. “The common thread between all these artists is that their techniques across mediums shared a conceptual approach rooted in early hip-hop: pop figuration and wildstyle lettering in painting; freestyling, sampling, remixing and scratching in music; and the textual interventions of found surfaces in apparel, sculpture and architecture.”

The exhibition features more than 125 works, from artists such as Keith Haring, Lee Quiñones, Kool Koor and Lady Pink, and around 30 by Basquiat. Among the highlights is Basquiat’s Hollywood Africans (1983), which documents the artist’s time spent in Los Angeles with the artists Rammellzee and Toxic, depicting the three of them together and “referring as much to the limited [and] demeaning roles that African Americans have played in the American film industry, as to these young artists’ newly minted place in the West Coast art world”, Munsell says. [. . .]

• Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, until 16 May 2021

[Above: “Hollywood Africans” (1983) by Jean-Michel Basquiat includes portraits of fellow artists Rammellzee and Toxic © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.]

For full article, visit https://www.theartnewspaper.com/preview/exhibition-explores-basquiat-s-ties-to-hip-hop-culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s