Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography

The book Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography, by Eric Fretz, was published by Greenwood Press in March, 2010.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was barely out of his teens when he rocketed to the center of New York’s art scene. He was 27 when he died of a heroin overdose. Always controversial, Basquiat is now established as a major contemporary painter whose unique work continues to enthrall.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography covers the artist’s Brooklyn childhood, his teenage years as a homeless graffiti painter, and his rise through the art world. Along with discussion of his life and work, including his use of Afrocentric themes, the book offers background on related contemporary art movements. The text gives a vivid flavor of the various milieus that Basquiat passed through in his life. Special attention is given to Basquiat’s friendship with Keith Haring and collaborations with Andy Warhol. The book also explores Basquiat’s difficult relations with gallery owners and other authority figures, his problems with drug use, and his early death. A final chapter covers his continuing relevance and ongoing influence.

The book also contains a chronology of his life, a selected bibliography, list of works cited, index, and photographs showing Basquiat at various times in his career, including shots in his studio surrounded by his work.

The distinguished Greenwood Biography series was developed specifically for student use. Prepared by field experts and professionals, these engaging biographies are tailored for high school students who need challenging yet accessible biographies. Although the emphasis is on fact, not glorification, the books are meant to be fun to read.

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