This event is FREE and open to the public


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.


Introductions (9:30 AM – 9:45 AM

Panel 1:  Black Magic: Art, Style, and the Global Stage (10:00 AM – 11:15 AM)
(Michaela angela Davis, Johanna Almiron, Jason King, Yasmin Rodriguez, Cey Adams)

Panel 2: Feeling Gray:  Music, Art, and Being the Only One in the Room (11:30 AM – 12:45 PM)
(Suzanne Mallouk, D’Weston Haywood, Michael Holman, Kwami Coleman, Fahamu Pecou)

Panel 3:  The Economy of Basquiat (2:30 PM – 3:45 PM
(Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Phoebe Hoban, Tanisha C. Ford, Sara Jane Boyers, Lina Viktor)

Panel 4:  Migratory Myths and Island Sensibilities (4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
(Al Diaz, Staceyann Chin, Millery Polyné, Jana Braziel, Miriam Jimenez-Roman)

Break with refreshments in Foyer (5:30 PM – 6:00 PM)
Screening of Basquiat Interview with Marc Miller (6:15 PM – 6:45 PM)

Panel 5: “Cuz I Felt Like It” (6:45 PM – 8:00 PM)
(Lee Quiñones, Ja’tovia Gary, Greg Tate, Christopher Stackhouse, Michael Ralph)

Closing Festivities /Fiesta/ Fête (8:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

Symposium Curators:  Ja’nell Ajani & Ayanna Legros

Symposium Participants Include: 
Sandra Jackson-Dumont (The Metropolitan Museum of Art); Derrick Adams (Artist); Michaela angela Davis (CNN Contributor); Staceyann Chin (Performing Artist/Poet); Yasmin Ramirez (CUNY); Greg Tate (Journalist); Dr. Jason King (NYU Tisch); Dr. Kwami Coleman (Jazz Artist/NYU Gallatin); Fahamu Pecou (Artist); Christopher Stackhouse (Scholar/Writer); Michael Holman (Co-Founder of Basquiat’s Band, Gray); Al Diaz (Co-Founder of Basquiat’s SAMO graffiti tag); Cey Adams (Founding Creative Director for Def Jam Records/Graphic Designer); Dr. Suzanne Mallouk (Basquiat’s long-time girlfriend); Lee Quiñones (Artist); Dr. Millery Polyné (NYU Gallatin); Phoebe Hoban (Art Critic/NY Times Journalist); Lina Viktor (Artist); Dr. Tanisha C. Ford (U. MASS); Dr. Michael Ralph (NYU); Sara Jane Boyers (Creator/Editor of Jean-Michel Basquiat/Maya Angelou illustrated book, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me); Miriam Jimenez-Roman (Independent Scholar); Dr. D’weston Haywood (U. Louisiana); Dr. Jana Braziel (Miami U-Ohio); Dr. Johanna Almiron (U.Wisconsin); Ja’Tovia Gary (Filmmaker/Artist)

Presented in Partnership with NYU:
Tandon School of Engineering, Office of Student Affairs, The Institute of African American Affairs, Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity, Faculty of Arts and Science, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, College of Arts and Science, Academic Achievement Program, Department of Art History, Institute for Public Knowledge, Tisch Department of Photography & Imagining, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis

Previous Partnerships of the BASQUIAT: Still Fly @ 55 Project Include:
WBAI Radio 99.5 FM State of the Arts & Culture NYC
NYU Africa Diaspora Forum
NYU Metropolitan Studies
NYU American Studies
NYU GSAS (Organizational Student Life)
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Museum of Modern Art
Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York
NYU Tandon – Brooklyn Campus, The Dibner Building, 5 MetroTech, Brooklyn, NY
NYU Tandon – Brooklyn Campus, The Dibner Building, 5 MetroTech, Brooklyn, NY