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Basquiat Exhibit At MFA First Of Its Kind

BOSTON (CBS) - Away from the growing bustle of Boston, inside the halls of the Museum of Fine Arts, an artful respite is beaming with life.

"Nothing like this has ever been done in Boston, or the world really. This is the first show to contextualize Basquiat's work in hip hop culture," said Liz Munsell, co-curator of "Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip Hop Generation."

The lower level of the museum has been transformed to resemble a New York City subway in the 1980s. It features a collaborative collection of 120 pieces art from Brooklyn-born artist, poet and graffiti prodigy Jean-Michel Basquiat and his peers – hip-hop pioneers like Fab 5 Freddy and Rammellzee. Multiple galleries filled with unique pieces build a timeline of Basquiat's influence in hip-hop and the post-graffiti movement. The exhibition debuted in October of 2020, six months later than scheduled because of the pandemic. Tickets have sold out through March and some weekends in April.

"It's a different crowd, it's very young. It's a lot of folks of color who are coming through. And that feels good. It's really important for the MFA to have an exhibition like this up right now, so that folks feel seen and represented through the art that hangs on our walls," said Munsell.

Among the notable works is Andy Warhol's vinyl copy of "Beat Bop" -- the hip-hop record Basquiat produced in 1983.
And the much-celebrated painting Hollywood Africans, Basquiat's critique of popular culture in American society – created after a trip to Los Angeles with friends.

"They make quite a scene and quite a statement in what was a very white scene," said Munsell. "Basquiat is talking about this duality of these limited roles that African Americans are given to play in the industry of Hollywood. And the limited roles they're given to play as folks of color in the 80s art world."

Munsell says she hopes visitors walk away inspired by the exhibit. "He [Basquiat], together with his friends, made a big impact," Munsell said. "Particularly in these really hard times for artists, learning that you can band together to make a difference, is something I'd love for people to come away from this show thinking about."

The exhibition runs through mid-May. For more information on how to book your visit, click here.

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