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Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the late 1970s in the post-punk underground art scene in downtown New York. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta 7 in Kassel. His vibrant, raw imagery, abounding with fragments of bold capitalised text, offers insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young black artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK; not a single work of his is held in a public collection. Drawing from international museums and private collections, Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never seen before in the UK, and runs at Barbican Art Gallery until 28 January. The exhibition is sponsored by NET-A-PORTER, tp bennett and PHILLIPS.

More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, writing, performance, film and television, placing him within the wider cultural context of the time. Paintings, drawings, notebooks and objects are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and archival material, capturing the range and dynamism of Basquiat’s practice over the years.

Highlights of the Barbican’s exhibition include a partial reconstruction of Basquiat’s first body of exhibited work, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York / New Wave at P.S.1 in February 1981. Fifteen works are brought together for the first time in over 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of fellow artists and critics. The exhibition continues with an exploration of his energetic, often collaborative work as the prodigy of the downtown scene; from the birth of SAMO© to his relationship with Warhol. In the downstairs spaces, new scholarship sheds light on some of his most acclaimed paintings and drawings. A famously self-taught artist, Basquiat sampled from an extraordinary breadth of source material – from anatomical drawings to bebop jazz to silent film – but many of these reference points have remained relatively opaque until now. With the support of the Basquiat family, the curators have conducted extensive new research, which will allow these important works to be understood as never before.

Panel talk with Barjeel Art Foundation on 13 January

The Reflection and Retrospective, 2010-2018 panel discussion is with Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi (founder), Karim Sultan (director), Suheyla Takesh (curator-at-large) and Mandy Merzaban (founding curator), will be moderated by Antonia Carver (director, Art Jameel).

Quoz Arts Fest- From 26 to 27 January

The sixth edition of this free event celebrating arts and culture in Al Quoz is open to all, including pets.

Van Gogh Exhibition to Visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Held under the patronage of the Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development, the acclaimed multi-media art exhibition is being brought to the UAE by Grande Exhibitions and local event company 6IX Degrees Entertainment.

The exhibition will take place for six weeks each in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, starting this month at the Abu Dhabi National Theatre and running until February, before moving to Dubai Design District (D3) from March to April. Van Gogh Alive combines a specially chosen score of classical music with over 3000 images. Some of the artist’s most famous paintings as well as other inspirational images are all displayed on the walls, floor and ceiling of the exhibition space using 40 high-definition projectors. Born March 30th 1853, Vincent Willem Van Gogh is one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of western art. He created more than 2,000 works of art, including 860 oil paintings, before his death on July 29th 1890.

-Compiled by Mariam Nihal


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