The legendary American Neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was born today, December 22, 1960. Had he lived, he would have been 61. Basquiat first achieved fame as part of the graffiti duo SAMO, which he developed while just a high-school student in Lower Manhattan. While living in the East Village and SoHo, Basquiat developed his craft and gained the attention of accomplished artists and art dealers, who helped him present his art at the Whitney Biennial at just 22. Basquiat spent most of his life in New York City, and here are 11 spots and neighborhoods where he made an impact.
1. Park Slope, East Flatbush, and Boerum Hill homes
Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, in Park Slope to Gerard and Matilde Basquiat. His father was born in Haiti while his mother was born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn. In 1966, he moved to East 35th street in East Flatbush, where Basquiat began studying and practicing art, attending the nearby Saint Ann’s School and drawing his favorite cartoons. Basquiat and his friend Marc Prozzo created a children’s book at the age of just seven.
It was at the East Flatbush home that he recovered from an automobile accident in 1968, in which he broke his arm and had his spleen removed. His mother gave him a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, which had a lasting impression on him and was reflected in his later anatomical drawings. After his parents separated, he moved to Boerum Hill with his father and two siblings before moving to Puerto Rico three years later. He returned to Boerum Hill in 1976 and moved out in 1978 after creating the fictional character SAMO.