Controversial cult artist, enfant terrible of the art world, friend of Haring and Warhol, and both idol and a victim of the art scene of the '80s-Jean-Michel Basquiat was a legend in his own lifetime. This catalog, published in conjunction with the major retrospective at the Lugano Museum of Modern Art, provides an excellent overview of Basquiat's life and work. As an African-American painter, Basquiat has made a significant impact on the history of contemporary art. From his origins as a street graffiti artist, he became one of the most influential artists of his time: in 2005 his work is being celebrated in seperate exhibitions in the US and Europe. As emblems of the contemporary world, his explosive, colorful, and apparently naéf canvases have an unparalleled force. The brief but intense artistic career of this celebrated proponent of the downtown New York art scene of the 1980s is covered through some fifty paintings and twenty works on paper drawn from prestigious private collections and museums. This book offers a new intense dialogue with the more modern expressions of twentieth-century art.