Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of the world’s best known and most loved artists, a collective phenomenon on a par with his mentor and friend Andy Warhol. Books have been written about him and films have been made about him, his posters are everywhere; the image of this star-crossed prodigy is an icon of contemporary culture in the same way as Jimi Hendrix or James Dean. But Basquiat was first and foremost a great artist, a creator of compelling paintings bursting with historical, social, artistic and shamanic references. Gifted with formal intelligence and innate talent, Basquiat combined raw power and compositional strength, expressing himself in a style somewhere between unstudied grit and childlike playfulness. A product of the vibrant New York art scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, in his short life Basquiat represented the ancestral spirit of the African-American people and rose to the highest levels of artistic experimentation of his time.