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

‘Downtown was like this kaleidoscopic, smörgåsbord of activity…’

We continue our series of long reads exploring the life, influences and surroundings of Jean-Michel Basquiat – this time, we’re heading downtown to experience the cultural renaissance of New York’s downtown music scene.

Tim Lawrence, professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and author of Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83, shares his insight into this exciting moment in New York history – and the role Basquiat and his contemporaries played.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s a cultural renaissance of arguably unprecedented proportions reached its climax in downtown New York. Determined to pursue lives that were more creative, flexible and open than those led by their hedged in, nine-to-five, socially conservative parents, a generation of young artists drove the phenomenon.

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Photo: Jean-Michel Basquiat dancing at the Mudd Club, 1979 © Nicholas Taylor

Basquiat: Boom for Real takes place from 21 September 2017—28 January 2018

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