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The AGO Shows Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Prescient Paintings

THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO PRESENTS A WIDE-RANGING THEMATIC RETROSPECTIVE OF WORKS BY JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

Jean-Michel Basquiat Obnoxious Liberals Art Gallery of Ontario

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Obnoxious Liberals (© the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat; licensed by Artestar, New York)

FEBRUARY 7 TO MAY 10  It’s relatively rare when art that’s intrinsically linked to a time and place continues to resonate in myraid communities, decades after its creation. Such are the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat: the artist earned acclaim in his (brief) lifetime by capturing the gritty urbanism of 1980s New York—a city then beset by significant racial and economic tensions—in pieces that drew on abstract expressionist and conceptual traditions as freely as they did street art, jazz music, sports and comic culture. Today, Basquiat’s paintings and drawings are as relevant as ever. They’re accessible, too, thanks to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is staging the first major thematic retrospective of the artist’s work in Canada. Aptly titled “Now’s the Time,” the exhibition features close to 85 large-scale pieces that even now challenge our perceptions about both visual art and society at large.  —Craig Moy

• Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648; ago.net
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