Basquiat, who grew up in Brooklyn the child of Puerto Rican and Haitian parents, rose to fame in the early 1980s as part of the street graffiti scene of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Known first by the tag name SAMO ("SAMe Old shit"), Basquiat was a skilled painter whose large-scale works and drawings combined clever wordplay in English, French, and Spanish with a panoply of signature images in bright colors. Here, in his characteristic all-caps hand, the artist inscribed stream-of-consciousness spills of words on slips of notepaper, assembling them with delicate drawings of animal skeletons.
the artist, New York (1985–d. 1988; his estate, 1988–92; gift to MMA)
New York. Robert Miller. "Jean Michel Basquiat: Drawings," November 1990.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Trails: Selected Works from the Collection, 1934–2001," July 19–November 27, 2011, no catalogue.
Robert Storr. Jean Michel Basquiat: Drawings. Exh. cat.New York, 1990, ill. p. 120.