"Mind Energy" (detail) 1985, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol (Yann Caradec/FLICKR/CC2Lic.)
Contemporary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is among the most famous American artists we know today. But before his untimely death in 1988, critics were divided about whether or not his work would leave a lasting impression on American art.
Jordana Moore Saggese, associate professor of art history at the University of Maryland, explores how Basquiat's early reception, his tendency to copy, and his associations with graffiti had an impact on his critical potential both during and after his lifetime. Through a close examination of his paintings and drawings, she discusses Basquiat's appropriative and improvisatory impulses and their connections to the history of academic painting. She also considers the role his love of jazz music played in his creative practices.
Saggese’s focus on Basquiat’s legacy also provides an entry point into another, larger question about art history: That is, whose histories get told and how do artists enter the canon?
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
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