How Basquiat and Street Artists Left Their Mark on Hip-Hop Culture

By 1984, 24-year-old Jean-Michel Basquiat had already broken into the mainstream art world. But the onetime street artist still couldn’t shake the legacy of his teenage years spent writing graffiti on the streets of New York City — mostly under the moniker of “SAMO” which he often used to critique the commodification of art.

There was really no ambition in it at all,” Basquiat told the interviewer Marc Miller that year in an episode of “ART/new york,” a video series on contemporary art. “It was stuff from a young mind, you know what I mean?

But the artist was not alone in his teenage pursuits: He was part of a constellation of young graffiti artists who used New York City’s streets and subways as their canvases before going on to take both the art world and hip-hop culture by storm. Their works are the subject of “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation,” an exhibition on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through July 25, which charts how Basquiat and 11 other street artists, most of them Black or Latino — Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, Keith Haring, Rammellzee, Toxic, A-One, Kool Koor, ERO, Futura and LA2 — formed the post-graffiti movement in 1980s New York City.

- via The New York Times

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