Painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, La Hara, 1981

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Symbolism from New York

The major autumn exhibition "Basquiat. The Retrospective" at the Albertina presents one of the most unusual artists of the 20th century: Jean-Michel Basquiat. The special show marks the first comprehensive retrospective on Basquiat curated by a museum in Austria. Around 50 key works of the American, who died in 1988, have been brought together from renowned public and private collections around the world with the aim of providing insights into Basquiat's unusual imagery as well as decrypting his often complex artistic ideas.

The exhibition presents numerous large and intensely colorful works, frequently displaying signs and symbols that are representative of his extensive oeuvre. The exhibited works show Basquiat's central themes: Racism, social injustice, and consumer capitalism. They are on display in the Bastei Hall, the lower ground floor of the Albertina, until January 2023.

Short, stellar career

If you want to dive into his impressive oeuvre, you have to understand Jean-Michel Basquiat the person. New York City in the early 1980s: A vibrant art scene was causing a sensation. One of its most glittering figures? The young Jean-Michel Basquiat, son of a Haitian-Puerto-Rican emigrant family, who gradually rose to become one of the most important artists of his time with his complex and emotionally charged works. Basquiat's career was stellar in the extreme – and extremely short. The eccentric, who consorted with the greats of his time like Andy Warhol, Madonna, and David Bowie, created a spectacular oeuvre in just a few years, before dying from an overdose at just 27 years of age.

Basquiat left behind a hugely diverse oeuvre comprising over 1,000 paintings and 2,000 drawings. He focuses on political issues, criticizes racism, social injustice, capitalism, and excessive consumption. His use of linguistic signs and symbols is unmistakable. He drew inspiration from street art, cartoons, children's drawings, and advertising. Today, his works are among the most sought-after art objects of the 20th century. In 2017, a Basquiat painting exchanged hands for the record sum of US$110.5 million. Thirty-four years after his death, his work at Vienna's Albertina comes across as groundbreaking and visionary, like during the pulsating 1980s in New York.

Basquiat. The Retrospective

September 9, 2022 – January 8, 2023


Albertinaplatz 1
1010 Vienna
  • Vienna City Card

    • Your benefit with the Vienna City Card: -10%

      Additional information on the offer:

      Standard ticket price: 18,90€ / Savings: 2€ off the daily valid sales price at the museum cash desk (special offers excluded)

  • Opening times

    • Mo, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Tu, 10:00 - 18:00
    • We, 10:00 - 21:00
    • Th, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Fr, 10:00 - 21:00
    • Sa, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • on holidays, 10:00 - 18:00
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps (Double swinging doors190 cm wide)
    • Elevator available
      • Door 150 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Wheelchair rental (prior arrangement necessary: Tel. +43 1 534 83–540). Guided tours in sign language available (prior arrangement necessary: Tel. +43 1 534 83–540). Guided tours for blind people available as well as for people with slight to moderate dementia and their escorts (prior arrangement necessary: Tel. +43 1 534 83–540). Please inform Art Mediation department about wheelchair uses in advance. Reduced admission for persons with special needs

    • Comments

      Access to all exhibition rooms, to the restaurant / café and to the Shop: no steps. All rooms are wheelchair-accessible.

      Wheelchair-accessible restrooms on levels 1 and -1, restroom on level 1: door width: 90 cm, room dimensions: 180 x 110 cm.

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