The organizers would like to acknowledge our co-sponsors for their efforts and contributions

The Institute of African American Affairs   Academic Achievement Program    College of Arts and Science    Department of Art History    Department of Social & Cultural Analysis   Faculty of Arts and Science  •  Gallatin School of Individualized Study    GSAS Organizational Student Life Grant  •  Tandon School of Engineering, Office of Student Affairs  • 
Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity    NYU Africa Diaspora Forum   
NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Photography and Imaging




Date: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Location:  NYU Tandon – Brooklyn Campus,
The Dibner Building, 5 MetroTech, Brooklyn, NY

Click Here for Program PDF



On August 12, 1988, Jean-Michel Basquiat died at the age of 27. Despite his brief life, Basquiat is arguably one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In the past couple of years, there has been a global resurgence around Basquiat, particularly through exhibitions done by Brooklyn Museum (USA), AGO Art Gallery (Canada), Guggenheim Bilbao (Spain), and _space caribbean (Jamaica), and the renaming of a public square (France).

Last December marked what would have been Basquiat’s 55th birthday. BASQUIAT: STILL FLY @ 55 is a one-day symposium that seeks to reclaim and raise awareness about the legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat and his significance / cross pollination in art, fashion, music, and film. The multiplicity of mediums used by Basquiat propelled him to push the envelope in asking the meaning / definition of art. We must reconstruct the tragedy narrative tied to Basquiat in order to properly celebrate his life and legacy. Why is Basquiat an inspiration today? What artists are following in his footsteps? And finally what is the significance of Basquiat appropriation and consumption by corporations and buyers?

This symposium places academic scholars, artists, and cultural critics in conversation with one another with the goal of unraveling the many sides of Basquiat’s personal and professional life (from his Caribbean identity to his friendship with Andy Warhol). Utilizing various social media platforms to inform local and global audiences, the primary goal of this symposium is to contextualize the diasporic impact of this seemingly timeless spirit of art and street culture in order to understand his resurgence today.





Photos by Terrence Jennings


Derrick Adams' SCHOOL DAYZ is a sculpture installation and live broadcast presented during BASQUIAT: STILL FLY @ 55, a one-day symposium mapping the life and times of the legendary artist. The program was organized by co-curators, Ja'nell Ajani and Ayanna Legros, and took place on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at NYU Tandon at 5 MetroTech, Brooklyn, New York.

As the featured artist for symposium, Adams was commissioned to create a work that complimented the program and served as a response to rich influence Basquiat left on the art world through his prolific but brief career. For his contribution, Adams brought to life the iconic image of Basquiat’s crown which appears in the numerous paintings he left behind. For the installation the crown image was constructed as a sculptural object designed as a temporary pavilion used to house the live broadcast, providing the hosts, guests and audiences a space to lounge and become part of the conversation surrounding culture as a form of currency.

Referring to the past, the title SCHOOL DAYZ is an acknowledgement of the established institutions surrounding the life and times of the legendary artist and cultural producer. The internet broadcast allowed invited guests to have a platform of their choosing, fostering discussions about music, art and other shared experiences, as well as conversations with some who knew him or traveled in similar circles in the New York art scene during his time.

Special Guest Speakers Include: • Derrick Adams • Sherry Bronfman • Benjamin Bronfman • Mr. Gandy • Elizabeth Axtman • Zulema Griffin • Leronn Brooks  • Renee Cox • Nyguen Smith




November 10th, 2015: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Basquiat Still Fly @ 55


Join us for Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Basquiat Still Fly @ 55, a social evening of creating, updating, and improving Wikipedia articles pertaining to the lives and works of black artists. Hosted at The Museum of Modern Art Library in celebration of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 55th birthday and in partnership with Afrocrowd, Basquiat: Still Fly @ 55, and the Black Lunch Table, this meetup will focus on closing the multicultural and gender gaps in Wikipedia.

All are invited, and no specialized knowledge of the subject or Wikipedia editing experience is required. We will provide training on editing Wikipedia, WiFi, reference materials, light refreshments, and childcare (sponsored by Afrocrowd). Please bring your laptop, power cord, and ideas for articles that need to be updated, translated, or created. All languages and beginners welcome. Admission to the edit-a-thon is free, but please RSVP.





February 1st, 2016: Talks at the Schomburg Center for Research in
Black Culture: Basquiat and Contemporary Queer Art


Talks at the Schomburg: Basquiat and Contemporary Queer Art

Dr. Jordana Saggese, Dr. David Clinton Wills, Juliana Huxtable, Kimberly Drew, and The Very Black Project’s (Andre Singleton) will present a #veryqueer  #verybasquiat  #verydiasporic #veryblack conversation on the life and legacy of Jean Michel-Basquiat. This program, created by NYU Africana Studies graduate students, Ja'nell Ajani and Ayanna Legros, explores and historicizes the cultural phenomena and life events that laid the foundation for Basquiat's creative genius and his undeniable impact on African Diasporic communities across the globe.

This program is presented in collaboration with the NYU Africana studies program in the NYU School of Social and Cultural Analysis.