Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ties to jazz and hip-hop, as told by ‘Notorious PhD’ in new Broad exhibit

Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s blend of graffiti and sketches became popular in the early 1980s. He was influenced by politics, race, and music. Basquiat often painted jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, incorporating their style of improvisation into his painting methods. 

His art was also steeped in the music around him — the downtown New York scene centered around the club called CBGB. Hip-hop was just gaining momentum at the time.

A new online video series at the Broad Museum examines Basquiat’s connection to the music of that era. It’s called “Time Decorated,” and it comes in three parts. One part is hosted by USC Professor Todd Boyd (a.k.a. "Notorious PhD"), who says Basqiuat’s art connected hip-hop and the bebop style of jazz, which were two different and important eras in Black music.

“Basquiat really embraced bebop. He embraced the rebelliousness of it, the artistry of it, the intellectual capacity of it,” says Boyd. 



  • Todd Boyd - Professor of Critical Studies at USC School of Cinematic Arts; Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at USC - @DrToddBoyd