Untitled (Skull) (1981) by Jean-Michel Basquait

Untitled (Skull) - Jean-Michel Basquait - 1981

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (Skull)
ArtistJean-Michel Basquait
Dimensions207 x 175.9 cm
Art MovementNeo-Expressionism
Current LocationBroad, Los Angeles, CA, US

About Untitled (Skull)

The artwork “Untitled (Skull)” by Jean-Michel Basquiat was created in 1981, employing a dynamic combination of acrylic and crayon on canvas. This piece, which measures 207 x 175.9 cm, is an exemplary work within the Neo-Expressionist movement and is categorized under the figurative genre. The artwork is part of the collection at the Broad Museum located in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The composition of “Untitled (Skull)” is characterized by a vibrant and chaotic assembly of colors and marks. Dominating the canvas is a skull-like figure that commands immediate attention through its presence and scale. The use of vivid colors, like the striking yellow that outlines parts of the skull and the deep blues and bright reds in the background, contributes to the raw and emotive quality that Basquiat is renowned for. The skull is not a complete or literal representation; rather, it is a fragmented and abstracted visage, amalgamating facial features with a disarray of lines and shapes that create a sense of movement and depth within the work.

The energetic application of materials with loosely defined, overlapping forms and the artist’s iconic use of scribbles, crossing out, and written text adds to the layered complexity of the piece. The artwork exudes an urban grittiness and an almost palpable intensity, which is representative of Basquiat’s style and is reflective of his commentary on contemporary life and social themes. In this powerful artefact, Basquiat uses the skull motif, a recurring subject in his oeuvre, to perhaps delve into themes of mortality, identity, and the human experience.

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