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SAMO©...SINCE 1978: SAMO©...Writings: 1978-2018

Al Díaz and Jean-Michel Basquiat stoked public intrigue in 1978 as teenagers when they began tagging their SAMO©… writings throughout New York City. The statements spoke to people, spoke about people, and sometimes spoke of nothing at all. What began as a cynical, yet clever joke among friends—eventually became a creative cornerstone for both artists—and a hallmark of NYC art historical accounts. Everyone around town was asking,“Who is SAMO?” Basquiat’s path was well laid when the pair gave up their anonymity to the Village Voice in December 1978, in exchange for $100. The ball was rolling. Within two years Basquiat would be a famous painter, abruptly leaving behind Díaz and street writings for the blue chip gallery circuit. Díaz became a regular player in the NYC music scene. SAMO©… was dead. Ten years after that, Basquiat was also dead. But today, Albert Díaz is very much alive.