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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol by Jeanette Montgomery Barron Photo courtesy the artist

When JMB Met JMB


These days the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat is so prevalent — Basquiat-branded phone cases, skateboards, BE@RBRICK collectible toys, even t-shirts at Abercrombie & Fitch — it's hard to imagine a time, before his estate decided to sell-out and cash-in, that the gay Black young man was an artist who spoke for those on the outside. Before dying of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988, the Brooklyn-born son of a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother began his career as a graffiti artist and by 22 was one of the youngest to exhibit at The Whitney Biennial in New York. The visual appeal of his erratic, chaotic acrylics often bellied their biting commentary on racial politics and class warfare, notably in his work "Irony of Negro Policeman."

In "JMB," a beautiful new limited edition book by Kent, Conn., based photographer Jeanette Montgomery Barron, whose famed portraits of New York City's art world have transfixed us with their moody mystery, Barron collects her intimate sittings of Basquiat through the 1980s. She will discuss "JMB" at House of Books in Kent on Saturday, June 3, at 6 p.m. For more go to www.houseofbooksct.com

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