The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at
The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at

Basquiat at the Barbican in 2017

Opening in the Barbican Gallery next year, Basquiat: Boom for Real will be the first large-scale UK exhibition of iconic painter and New York downtown scene prodigy Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The exhibition will dig deeper into Basquiat’s complex work, focusing on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing it within the wider cultural context of the time; the 1980s New York art scene where he was a key figure along with his friend Andy Warhol.

Featuring over 100 works, many never seen before in the UK, Basquiat: Boom for Real will showcase some of the artist’s most acclaimed paintings and drawings, alongside rare film, photography and music to capture the breadth and dynamism of his practice, while also tracing his artistic evolution.

One highlight of the show will be a reconstruction of Basquiat’s first show, part of a group show at the PS1, New York, revealing how he quickly won artists’ and critics’ admiration. Extensive new research into Basquiat’s fascinating scope of source material, conducted for the exhibition with the support of the Basquiat family, also shines new light on his work.


To accompany the exhibition, the Barbican Cinema will run The Grime and the Glamour: NYC 1976-90 alongside the show with a line-up including Basquiat’s former girlfriend Madonna in Susan Seidelman’s Desperately Seeking Susan and Jim Jarmusch’s Permanent Vacation, which saw Basquiat use the set as a makeshift crash pad.

Capturing the artistic freedom of the era, the screenings will complement Basquiat: Boom for Real and shed a new light on this period of significant historical change and creative energy.

Basquiat: Boom for Real takes place from 21 September 2017 – 28 January 2018. The Grime and the Glamour: NYC 1976-90 takes places from 29 September 2017 – 5 October 2017.

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