Shaking the Piggy Bank of Artworld Stardom
The iconic poster of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat clad in Everlast boxing gear and preparing to spar, made to advertise their exhibition at Tony Shafrazi’s, is a now a collector’s item. The artists famously worked on canvases that were traded back and forth for their collaborative 1985 show. At the time, Ronald Jones concluded in his review for Arts Magazine: “These paintings recite the gestures of ‘collaboration’ and ‘cancel’ so that their meanings elide; and, in turn, art-historical metaphors, types, cycles, and personalities collapse into one another. The result willfully admits that Basquiat’s expressionism is simply another way of saying Warhol’s consumerism while the effect is a highly stylized but all-too-familiar veneer that resonates with a shrill stylistic falseheartedness.”
In the past few months, a Basquiat painting has sold for $85 million at auction (below his $110.5 million record) and a for-profit exhibition organized by his sisters and stepmother chronicles the artist’s 27 years from a family and friends viewpoint. Including full size replicas of his childhood bedroom and art studio, admission ranges from $35-65 and there is an “emporium” selling all things Basquiat. Considering that Basquiat’s expressionism has certainly attained Warhol’s consumerism, the over 200 never-before-seen artworks in the exhibition that are not currently for sale, will likely be in the future.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure © is on view at the Starett-Lehigh building (601 West 26th Street) and has been extended through October 2022.