The Easel

How Jean-Michel Basquiat Became The Ultimate American Artist

Writing in 1988 Robert Hughes described Jean-Michel Basquiat as “a small untrained talent caught in the buzz saw of art world promotion”. Last week a Basquiat sold for $110m – the highest price ever for an American artist. Different people read different things into this – revival of the art market, vindication of artists of colour and more. One writer observed “Basquiat’s got fans like Bob Marley’s got fans.”