Brain Food #473

The same old sh-t

As a teenager, Jean-Michel Basquiat stood at the forefront of street art. Later, his work invaded galleries. His art was beautifully chaotic, breaking all aesthetic boundaries. Worlds collided in it.

Even thirty years ago, ironically, the theme of police brutality prevailed in his work. In 1983, a twenty-five-year-old art student called Michael Stewart died from injuries incurred while in police custody. The policemen were later acquitted. Stewart’s death gave birth to a collection of political paintings by Baquiat, a reaction to the unfairness he was witnessing.

When filling the streets of New York with art, he used the nickname SAMO, a prophetic shorthand for “the same old shit”. Regarding his street art, he said ,“Graffiti has a lot of rules in it as to what you can do and what you can’t do, and I think it’s hard to make art under those conditions.”

It’s under the most difficult of conditions that innovation, and change, sometimes come to life.

Image may contain Advertisement Poster Art Painting Mural Modern Art and Graffiti

La Hara, 1981


If you were forwarded this email and you'd like to receive more, you can sign up and receive it daily in your inbox.

And if you love Brain Food and want the world to know about it, feel free to share it with them.

Share Brain Food

If you have any questions, thoughts, ideas you'd like to share, just hit reply.

Read longer Brain Food musings on Medium.