Basquiat and the Bayou was a group exhibition that took place at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans from October 14 to December 31, 2017. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Monica Blackmun Visonà and featured works by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Basquiat and the Bayou showcased a selection of Basquiat’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures that engage with themes of race, ethnicity, and cultural identity. The works on view were drawn from public and private collections, including the Basquiat Family Collection, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The exhibition was organized around three central themes: Basquiat’s early years in New York City; his exploration of Haitian and African-American cultures; and his engagement with the New Orleans’s African-American community.
Franklin Sirmans wrote an exhibition catalog in which he wrote that “Basquiat and the Bayou offers a rare glimpse into how the artist’s work responds to place.” Sirmans argues that Basquiat’s engagement with New Orleans helped him to develop a more nuanced understanding of race and ethnicity.