Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s complex relationship captivated the art world in the 1980s and continues to do so today. At a time when Warhol was already world-famous and the elder statesman of New York cool, Basquiat was a downtown talent rising rapidly from the graffiti scene. Together, they forged an electrifying personal and professional partnership.
As a prolific documentarian of his own world, Warhol extensively photographed and wrote of his friendship with Basquiat, all played against the backdrop of 1980s downtown New York City. It reveals not only the emotional depth of their relationship but also its ambiguities, extremities, and complexities.
Produced in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s estate, a new book, Warhol on Basquiat, chronicles the duo’s relationship in hundreds of previously unpublished photographs of Basquiat along with a dynamic cast of characters from Madonna to Grace Jones, Keith Haring to Fela Kuti.
The shots are accompanied by entries from the legendary Andy Warhol Diaries, selected collaborative artworks, and extensive ephemera. Touching, intimate, and occasionally sardonic, Warhol on Basquiat is a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of two of modern art’s brightest stars.
In a diary entry for Monday 4 October 1982, Warhol writes: "He’s black but some people say he’s Puerto Rican so I don’t know. And then Bruno discovered him and now he’s on Easy Street. He’s got a great loft on Christie Street [sic]. He was a middle-class Brooklyn kid — I mean, he went to college and things and — he was trying to be like that, painting in Greenwich Village."
A must for your bookshelves. Warhol on Basquiat is published by Taschen.