Jean-Michel Basquiat (1981)

I love this – a sensory headbutt by a shooting star of an artist who hung with Warhol in the 80s and died at the rock nroll age of 27. This looks like a brilliant, chaotic synthesis of all kinds of elements – voodoo, self-portrait, cave paintings, graffiti, even the Mighty Boosh – as well as a psychedelic medical drawing (Basquiat spent months in hospital as an 8-year-old, and his talisman there was a the copy of Grays Anatomy his mother gave him; he retained a fascination with the architecture of the body). Look at how the external area around the skull – bright, simple, childlike – contrasts with whats inside: the face decomposing, half-formed things crowding in, a kind of psychological pandemonium. Its a human skull but retains elements of life: fleshy eyelids, eyeballs cast down, eyes detached and despondent. All around the head, nerve endings are exposed: the terror of inner life lived in the brutally unforgiving outside world. All this is done with a combination of crudeness and expertise that draws eclectically on the past in order to reimagine the present, and makes us look at how life and death sit side by side so closely, so uneasily, and often so catastrophically.