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What to do Today: Last Chance to See Basquiat at The Barbican

Our top pick for Monday 22 January...

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Stuck on what to do today? Let us help you. This Monday 22 January, we recommend that you head to the Barbican for your last chance to see the Basquiat exhibition…

If you often find yourself stuck for ideas of what to do, we’ve come to the rescue with our brand new ‘What To Do Today’ feature. We handpick the best of what’s on in London and the country right now, whether a new restaurant, must-see show, exhibition ending soon or a pop-up that you must, ahem, pop in to. Check back every day for inspiration…

Last Chance: Basquiat at The Barbican

Basquiat at the Barbican

© Edo Bertoglio, courtesy of Maripol
Artwork: © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

The Barbican is hosting the first large-scale exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat, with over 100 pieces of his work ranging from paintings to rare film and everything in between. Dubbed a real maven of the downtown scene, being self-taught gave Basquiat the freedom to take on a multitude of different mediums, which made him quickly become a well-known creative force, leading to collaborations with the likes of Andy Warhol.


Basquiat was a product of the heady 1970s, originally emerging as a member of the informal street art group SAMO© who achieved fame for their graffiti campaigns across the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Before long he was using his art to experiment with new media, starring in alternative films and TV shows such a New York Beat with Blondie’s Debbie Harry, and most famously of all collaborating closely with illustrious New York culture-maker Andy Warhol.

Basquiat Boom for Real

Glenn, 1984
Private collection.
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

By the 1980’s Basquiat had gained significant recognition and was staging regular shows on the international art circuit, before his enigmatic life was tragically cut short in 1988. Since then interest in the cult figure has only grown; last year an untitled painting sold at Sotheby’s for $110,500,000, a record high for any American artist living or dead.

The Best Current Exhibitions in London

Closing this Sunday, don’t miss your chance to see one of London’s most popular exhibitions to date. Dubbed ‘Dazzling’ by The Guardian and awarded five stars by numerous critics, it’s an absolute must-see while it’s still in London. Read our preview of the exhibition before going, to ensure you’re well-informed.

‘His work is an attack on the limitations imposed on black Americans, filled with freedom and history and passion and beauty’ – Eddy Frankel, Time Out

Basquiat Boom For Real

Untitled, 1982
Courtesy Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

Haven’t got your fill of Basquiat? To celebrate the end of the exhibition, Barbican is holding an evening of Basquiat-inspired short films with original scores performed live. The creative collective Video Jam will be curating the evening of audio/visual performances, inspired by the life and works of the American artist. Established and emerging musicians and filmmakers have been working together on the project, taking into consideration Basquiat’s relationship to music, literature, film and television to place him within a wider context. Bound to be a wonderful evening. Sunday 28 January from 8pm. Find out more here.

The C&TH Guide to the Biggest Exhibitions of 2018

Where & When?

Basquiat: Boom for Real is at the Barbican, on Silk Street, London EC2Y. The exhibition runs until Sunday 28 January 2018, with late opening until 10pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Tickets £16 – book 

What’s on this week in the town? And in the country? Check out our culture diaries before you fill in yours.