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  • December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
    December 31, 1969
    7:00 PM

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Born in Brooklyn, NY, 1960
Died in New York, NY, 1988

Day 30: Jean-Michel Basquiat

In 1981, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Michael Holman formed the industrial art-rock group, Gray. The two met in April 1979 at “The Canal Zone” party. Other members included Nick Taylor, Wayne Clifford, Shannon Dawson, and Vincent Gallo. Basquiat got the band’s name from the medical reference text Gray’s Anatomy, a touchstone of his later visual works. Gray performed at such legendary 1980s New York haunts as CBGB’s, the Mudd Club, and Hurrah’s. 

During Basquiat’s tenure with the Gray, it never released a full-length album. Still some of its music appeared in cult films like Downtown 81 (starring Basquiat); a BBC documentary, Shooting Star; and the British television show, Without Walls. Nearly three decades after Basquiat’s death in 1988, a reunited Gray finally released its debut disc, Shades Of. . . (Plush Shades Records) in February 2011. The disc features many songs co-written by Basquiat including “Suicide Hotline,” a haunting piece in which Basquiat calls a suicide hotline and reads excerpts of his poetry to the operator.


If Jean-Michel Basquiat were still alive, what music do you think he would be most likely to explore as an artist?

Jean-Michel Basquiat Poll


1978 City-As-School High School, Brooklyn, NY

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2008 Jean-Michel Basquiat: To Repel Ghosts, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander, Spain; traveling to
Fondazione Memmo, Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome, Italy [cat.]
2007 Basquiat in Cotonou, Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Benin [cat.]
2006 Basquiat 1960-1988. Basquiat Retrospective, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China
Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981: The Studio of the Street, Deitch Projects, New York, NY [cat.]
2005 Basquiat, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; traveled to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los
Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, TX [cat.]
2004 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico [cat.]
2003 Jean-Michel Basquiat - Histoire d’une oeuvre, Musée Maillol, Fondation Dina Vierny, Paris, France [cat.]

Selected Group Exhibitons

2008 ART IS FOR THE SPIRIT: Works from The UBS Art Collection, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan [cat.]
Lots of Things Like This, apexart, New York, NY
2007 Kunstkammer, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California at Berkeley,
Berkeley, CA
Panic Attack! Art in the Punk Years, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK [cat.]
2006 The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984, Grey Art Gallery and The Fales Library, New
York University, New York, NY; traveled to The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
2004 East Village USA, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY [cat.]
2003 Kids are us / I bambini siamo noi, Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Trento, Italy [cat.]

Selected Collections

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. The presenting sponsor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is Altria Group.

Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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