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SAMO in Seattle

The Gallerist

A Very Important Painting

The Seattle Art Museum is displaying one untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, so important it gets its own exhibition tour. Created in 1982, the acrylic, spray paint, and oilstick on canvas is making international rounds, thanks to collector Yusaku Maezawa. When the tour ends, he’ll house it in a museum he’s creating Chiba, Japan. 

In 1982, at 21 years old, Basquiat had already become a force for change in the New York art world. Sometimes better known as his graffiti tag, “SAMO,” the artist integrated his street art style with complex ideas about black culture in America. His friendship with Andy Warhol, and his presence on the hip, downtown scene, helped launch him to fame. Yet its his striking, colorful, haunted forms that still feel as relevant and angry as ever (and help him achieve major auction prices).