A Panel of Experts, 1982. photo: Art Gallery of Ontario website

On February 7, the AGO will host a landmark event when it welcomes Jean-Michel Basquiat : Now is the Time, the first-ever retrospective of Basquiat’s work in Canada. This landmark Toronto show is also the exhibition’s only North American stop, so it’s a very special opportunity for fans to experience this work first hand. This retrospective features over 80 major paintings and drawings shared from both private collections and museums both European and North America.

In his just 27 years, Basquiat made an indelible mark on the New York art world and internationally, and seemed to glide from the street to the gallery. His work and singular vision created a stunning pastiche of influences from his early graffiti days, the gritty rock and club scene, and his own youthful exuberance mixed up with his self-made and deeply felt readings of popular culture, music, race, justice, love and art itself.  Basquiat’s relevance, his jazzy approach, and his messages have continued to challenge us and think critically. It’s also capable of just knocking one out with surprise and heart.

Basquiat is a shining example to artists in any medium of the creativity that emerges from necessity and focus. His boundless gaze lead to an eruption of art in the city off the white wall as he would tag his signature vision wherever and whenever, creating the most interesting doors, tables, and other surfaces across Manhattan, in addition to an impressive body of work on the more conventional canvas and paper in only a few very prolific years. The results are anything but conventional.

Jean-Michel Basquiat : Now is the Time runs from February 7th to May 10th, 2015 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Don’t miss it.

Tickets & more information: click here.

Exhibit related playlist: click here.

Exu, 1988. photo: Art Gallery of Ontario