BASQUIAT’S UNKNOWN NOTEBOOKS
By Naomi Barling
From April 3–August 23, 2015, the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing at the Brooklyn Museum will be work by self taught Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, in an exhibition called Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks. The show is comprised of the legendary artist’s personal notebooks filled with poetry fragments, wordplay, drawings, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. This is the first major exhibition of the artist’s notebooks-160 pages of intimate thoughts and sketches-along with related works on paper and large-scale paintings.
Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks emphasizes the distinct relationship between text and images in Basquiat’s work, giving us insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process. The notebook pages on display contain early versions of iconic imagery: tepees, crowns, skeleton-like figures, and frowning faces that also appear through his large-scale pieces. They also show early drawings related to his series of works titled Famous Negro Athletes. The notebooks are lent by the art collector Larry Warsh and span from 1981-1987. The exhibition gives the viewer an insight into the artists state of mind, interests, and creative process.