Review Round Up: Basquiat: Boom for Real, The Barbican

Now on display at the Barbican, this is the first UK exhibition focused on the work of  American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Here’s Love London Love Culture’s round up of what critics have been saying about it: 

The Guardian: **** “There is the pervasive feeling that everything here was made live and direct, in response to something going on in another time and place far away – that it has all been retrieved, only just, from oblivion.”

The Telegraph: **** “This show – incredibly Basquiat’s first major British survey – begins from the preposterous premise that he was “one of the most significant artists of the 20th century”. And while it aims to look behind the myth, it hits us with so much of that myth it’s hard, at first, to actually see the work.”

Evening Standard: **** “One level of the show is his life story, made uninteresting by curatorial over-management. The other is his work, endlessly rewarding. It shows an artist enthusiastic about different ways of achieving structure and order, often by methods that can seem violently odd.”

The Independent: ** “the art itself – the exhibition’s fundamental reason for being, surely – gets a little drowned out by all the circumambient, fame-frothy noise and visuals – what circles he moved in; how he got to know Warhol, and so on.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Boom for Real shows a whole new side of an artist whom many people in the UK only know through his auction records.”

The Times: *** “This expansive exhibition proves the artist’s success belongs more to the history of publicity than to the history of art.”

The Arts Desk:  “While its impossible to separate the man from the myth, this exhibition encourages the elision. This makes for a fascinating experience, but does Basquiat no favours as an artist since it directs one’s reading of the pictures too narrowly. We’ll probably have to wait several more decades for the myth to fade and the work to shine with its own light.”

Culture Whisper: ***** “Boom for Real is the most discerning and sensitive retrospective of Basquait’s work to date.”

City Am: **** “There is so much to take in here, so much to enjoy. If you aren’t convinced of Basquiat’s prodigious talent, you must see this exhibition: it will change your mind.”

 Londonist: **** “Jean-Michel Basquiat was certainly an extremely talented individual, but is he one of the all time great artists? We think not. Could he have been? Quite possibly. Sadly we’re never going to find out how brilliant he could have become.”

Basquiat: Boom for Real is on display at the Barbican until the 28th January 2018. For more information visit:


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