How Does '80s Art Look Now?

A new retrospective of work by Jean-Michel Basquiat raises the question, How much of value did that big decade leave behind?

The people who run the Brooklyn Museum have a new retrospective of work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and they are doing their best right now to summon the spirit of the '80s. Basquiat, who died in 1988 at age 27, is the graffiti artist who personified certain dimensions of that decade as completely as his onetime girlfriend Madonna. So on a recent Saturday afternoon, a large area on the museum's fifth floor was given over to break dancers busting out moves. In a corner, a DJ fiddled with his turntable while a crowd of kids watched. A couple of guys in suits...

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