Who is Basquiat and why does he Boom for Real?  Basquiat was young, still in his teens when the art world began to take notice of him and only twenty eight when he died of a heroin overdose.  Boom for Real was his favourite phrase, hence Basquiat Boom for Real.


Basquiat Boom for Real

People first began to notice Basquiat when a rash of graffiti that was wittier than usual and all tagged SAMO© was noticed on the walls of New York.  Who was the artist?  Just like Banksy now, nobody knew who was behind the images.  Unlike Banksy Basquiat stepped forward from the shadows.


Basquiat Boom for Real

From spray painting walls he went on to produce postcards which he sold for $1.  Imagine what a good investment that would have been!  He even plucked up the courage to ask his hero Andy Warhol to buy one.

Basquiat Boom for Real

So excited was Basquiat at having met Warhol and sold him a postcard that he rushed straight home and produced this double portrait of the two of them.  The pair went on to be great friends and collaborators, the Arm and Hammer painting is was produced by the two of them.

Basquiat Boom for Real

Basquiat took inspiration from all sorts of places and worked with people in many mediums including film and music.  Through out the exhibition you can hear music that he worked on and watch the films that he collaborated on.  One of them New York Beat, which stars a teenage Basquiat, is shown in its entirety and features Debbie Harry as a good fairy.  Allow lots of time if you want see them all.


  • 21 September 2017 – 28 January 2018
  • Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
  • Open: Sunday – Wednesday 10am – 6pm, Thursday – Saturday 10am – 10pm
  • Admission: Adults £16 concessions available
  • BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL click here to book tickets



  1. September 22, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    What a shame he died so young. It looks like a fascinating exhibition.

    • September 22, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      Lots of food for thought!

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