Life lines: The 80s art star who put poverty power and racism on the wall An icon of 1980s New York Jean-Michel Basquiat (19601988) first made his name under the graffiti tag SAMO before establishing his studio practice and catapulting to fast fame at the age of 20. Although his career lasted barely a decade he remains a cult figure of artistic social commentary and a trailblazer in the mediation of graffiti and gallery art. Basquiat’s work drew upon diverse sources and media to create an original and urgent artistic vocabulary biting with critique against structures of power and racism. His practice merged abstraction and figuration poetry and painting while his influences spanned Greek Roman and African art French poetry jazz and the work of artistic contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. The results are vivid visceral mixtures of words African emblems cartoonish figures daubs of bold color and beyond. This book presents Basquiats short but prolific career his unique style and his profound engagement with ever-relevant issues of integration and segregation poverty and wealth. Leonhard Emmerling received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg for a thesis titled Kunsttheorie Jean Dubuffets. Since 2010 he has headed the Visual Arts Division at the Goethe Institutes head office in Munich and was previously active as a curator at various art institutions in Germany. His publications include TASCHENs Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jackson Pollock. About the Series Each book in TASCHENs Basic Art series features: a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist covering his or her cultural and historical importance a concise biography approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions.