The influence of music in the works of Basquiat celebrated at the MMFA

The influence of music in the works of the famous Basquiat; e at the MMFA


Jean-Michel Basquiat had many talents, including that of knowing how to make sounds visible. Gone too soon, in 1988 at the age of 27, the multidisciplinary visual artist has always been inspired by music to create colorful works that often carry strong messages. It is this relationship to music in his work that has been celebrated at the MMFA since October 15.

Dog Bite

You need to plan a good hour and forty-five or even two hours for the visit to to immerse yourself in the multifaceted work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Presented for the first time at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – in collaboration with the Musée de la musique de la Philharmonie de Paris – the exhibition At Full Volume: Basquiat and Music explores the connection between the musical sounds and the visual works of one who is considered one of the most important and innovative artists of the 20th century.  

Anybody Speaking Words

Born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat grew up in an effervescent and creative era, particularly prosperous in the New York of marginal and curious artists, wishing to shake up the established order.&nbsp ;

Friend of Andy Warhol and a young Madonna, Basquiat quickly realized that he was one of the only young black visual artists in his circle of friends and of his New York generation. It was by relying on music – which was constantly playing in his studio – that the man who owned a collection of more than 3,000 albums managed to create works that reflected both his social and racial concerns and the evolution fashions and mentalities. 

A committee of experts

From new wave music to free jazz, including hip-hop, remixes, more classic jazz, the music he delivered when he played DJs and music from the black Atlantic, we no longer know if it is Basquiat's work that transports us into music or music that points to the work of the eccentric young prodigy. 

King Zulu

The portraits, canvases, collages, Polaroid shots, paintings , drawings, illustrations, concert posters, sheets of notebooks, graffiti, photos and video projections of performances form a whirlwind of sounds and images that surprise, upset, denounce, reveal, seduce, intrigue and seem to sing life and the work of this prolific young artist. As if he felt he had to give his all before leaving us too soon. 

The exhibition Full Volume: Basquiat and Music is presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until February 19, 2023