Born to multiethnic parents in Brooklyn, his family moved to Puerto Rico when his parents divorced, his father raised him and his two sisters, and his mother was put into a mental institution. After a two year stay in Puerto Rico, the Basquiat family moved back to New York. At the age of 15 he fled his father’s house and lived in the street. He had previously dropped from school in 10th grade.
He would soon become the child progidy under the wing of Warhol, eventually becoming the wünderkid or Neo-Expressionism, and going on to exhibiting his work in Annina Nosei gallery from which he moved to Mary Boone gallery in Soho in 1986.
His death at the age of 27 (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) due to a heroin overdose shocked the art world. Both Warhol and Basquiat had grown fond of each other, and used to spend a lot of time together and after Warhol’s death in 1987 Basquiat grew isolated and detached from every day life.
After his death his works continuously grew in price, with a peak in 2007, when his total work sold fetched an impressive combined figure of US$117m.
The following documentary film “Basquiat: The Radiant Child” shows the artist at work in unseen footage to date, as well as information and interviews with major secondary actors in the tragic play of his life.