‘Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks’ @ Brooklyn Museum | Apr. 3–Aug. 23

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1985) photographed by Lizzy Himme

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1985) photographed by Lizzy Himme

Jean-Michel Basquiat ‘s rarely seen documents will be on display at Brooklyn Museum in a forthcoming exhibit titled, Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks (April 3–August 23, 2015).

The self-taught Brooklyn-born artist sold his first painting in 1981, and took the world by storm by 1982. In 1985, he was featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, an unprecedented fete for a Black artist, and for one so young.

'Riding With Death,' Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988)

‘Riding With Death,’ Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988) [Click to Enlarge]

The showcase features 160 pages numerous notebooks filled with poetry fragments, word play, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. It also includes related works on paper and large-scale paintings.

From the museum:

“Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks emphasizes the distinct interplay of text and images in Basquiat’s art, providing unprecedented insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process. The notebook pages on display contain early renderings of iconic imagery—teepees, crowns, skeleton-like figures, and grimacing faces—that also appear throughout his large-scale works, as well as an early drawing related to his series of works titled Famous Negro Athletes.”

Organized by Dieter Buchhart , Guest Curator, and Tricia Laughlin Bloom , Associate Curator of Exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum, the event will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.


Exhibit Dates: April 3–August 23, 2015

Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm
Thursday: 11 am – 10 pm
Friday–Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm


Brooklyn Museum
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 4th Floor
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY11238-6052

Other Locations

Atlanta (Feb. 28–May. 29, 2016)