40 x 40 inches (101.5 x 101.5 cm.)
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Jean-Michel Basquiat was an African-American painter, poet, musician and graffiti prodigy who has become one of the most prominent cultural figures and pop icons of the 20th century. Contrast and dichotomy were a hallmark of the work that he created in his short life, as he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. With a particular interest in the human experience, his pieces investigated the sharp contrasts in the world around us between black and white, wealth and poverty, inner and outer. Quickly ascending to the highest levels of the art world by the time he was 20, Basquiat used scribbled words, elusive symbols and recurring heads and skulls to reference socio-political issues, popular culture imagery, Biblical messages and his Caribbean heritage.
Released by the Estate of Basquiat and based on the artist’s 1982-piece, Rinso takes its title from the 1950’s brand of soap that claimed to produce a ‘whitewashing action’. Featuring the names of renowned African American characters of an American radio sitcom popular in the 1950s, Kingfish and Sapphire – characters who were voiced by two white actors - the artist denounces this whitewashing phenomenon. Basquiat holds the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for an American artist’s work.