Tag Archive | Jean-Michel Basquiat

Modern Art Monday Presents: Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Death of Michael Stewart

The Death of Michael Stewart 1983
Photo By Gail

At the time of his death in 1983, Michael Stewart was an aspiring young artist new to the scene, and the details of his death remain officially unsettled thirty-six years later. Stewart was arrested for allegedly writing graffiti in the First Avenue L train station in the early morning of September 15th, 1983, on his way home to Brooklyn after a night out with friends in the East Village. At around 3:30 AM, he was brought, hog-tied and comatose, by police to Bellevue Hospital, where he died thirteen hours later.

The Death of Michael Stewart (1983) represents the Basquiat’s attempt to envision Stewart’s encounter with the police that night, and pay tribute. Originally painted on a wall of Keith Haring’s Cable Building studio, laden with tags by numerous graffiti writers, Basquiat’s composition comprises three figures: two cartoonish policemen wielding their batons over the partially defined man between them. The figure, rendered in black paint, represents both Michael Stewart and the enormity of the history of violence against black bodies: it could have been any black man in the wrong place at the wrong time, in America. The word “Defacement?” hovers above the trio in the upper register, posing a question about defilement: Can the (alleged) desecration of property be an excuse for erasing a life? It is important to consider that during the 1980s, ‘defacement’ was frequently used interchangeably as a term for graffiti.

For Basquiat, who famously said about Stewart’s death, “It could have been me,” the tragedy brought to the surface his own conflicted status as a black artist in a city roiled by racial tensions and a predominantly white art world that in the early eighties was largely unengaged with the social and economic inequities of New York City. When Haring moved studios in 1985, he cut the work from the wall. In the spring or summer of 1989, he placed the painting in an ornate, gilded frame inspired by the decor of the Ritz Hotel in Paris where he often stayed. The painting hung above Haring’s bed until his death from AIDS-related complications in 1990, when it was bequeathed to his goddaughter, its current owner.

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Eduardo Kobra’s Mount Rushmore of Art Mural, Chelsea Gallery District

Mount Rushmore of Art
All Photos By Gail

It’s hard to believe that Eduardo Kobra’s Mount Rushmore of Art mural has been up for five months already, and it took me that long to photograph it in its finished state; but that what I finally had the chance to do on Easter Sunday, when I went for walk on the High Line.

Kobras Mt Rushmore In Progress

Located at 10th Avenue and 22nd Street, directly above the often-shuttered-and-reopened Empire Diner, I happened to be in that neighborhood on November 3rd, 2018, while Kobra and his team worked on monumental piece, detailing the likenesses of four contemporary art legends: Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I was able to take a few photos of the mural as a work-in-progress on the afternoon, so I thought it would be fun to share them alongside photos of the completed mural, which takes its name from the monument located in South Dakota, swapping out US Presidents for North American Artists.

Kobras Mt Rushmore In Progress

Finishing touches are added to the face of Keith Haring (19581990). Frida Kahlo’s beautiful face seems to be completed at this point. She lived from 1907 to 1954.

Kobras Mt Rushmore In Progress

Kobra works on the face of Andy Warhol (19281987). The Dollar Sign visible under Warhol’s likeness, which is a motif from his artworks, has been replaced in the finished mural by a dinosaur wearing crown: an image popularized by Basquiat, who was a disciple of Warhol.

Kobras Mt Rushmore In Progress

This mural was completed in  collaboration with HG Contemporary Gallery in NYC.

Mount Rushmore of Art

Kobra Mt Rushmore of Art

Mount Rushmore of Art

 

New Play, Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat Coming to Here’s Mainstage Theatre – December 2nd!

Collaboration Warhol Basquiat
Ira Denmark as Andy Warhol and Calvin Levels as Jean-Michel Basquiat (Photo Courtesy or Devious Planet)

Fans of artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat will not want to miss an exciting new play coming to the off-Broadway stage just in time for the Christmas season. Staged Dreams is pleased to present the world premiere of Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat, a new American play written by Tony Award nominee, Calvin Levels and directed by Tony Award nominee, Lonny Price.

Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat is a dramatic portrayal of the symbiotic relationship between two of the twentieth century’s greatest artists. Collaboration captures a historic art-world moment as the iconic Pop artist Andy Warhol and the Neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat attempt to navigate the perilous terrain of art and fame while collaborating on a joint series of paintings for their New York City gallery exhibition. The accomplished cast features Calvin Levels as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ira Denmark as Andy Warhol and Frank van Putten in the role of European art dealer Rudolfo Happesberger.  Get your tickets now for this very limited engagement!

Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat Runs from Friday December 2nd through Thursday December 22, 2016 at Here’s MainStage Theatre, Located at 145 Sixth Ave. (entrance on Dominick St one block south of Spring), Soho, NYC. Performance Times are Wednesdays thru Fridays at 8:30PM, Saturdays at 4:00PM and 8:30PM, and Sundays at 4:00PM. Running time is 2 hours, including a intermission. For tickets and information please visit Here.org, or call the Box Office at (212) 352-3101, or toll free at (866) 811-4111. All Tickets are $25.

Save

Save

Allouche Gallery Opens Pop-Up Space in Soho

BAST Neon Sign
BAST Neon Sign (All Photos By Gail)

Gallerist Eric Allouche (Opera Gallery) has reopened his now eponymous gallery with a pop-up space on Wooster Street after leaving Opera/Allouche’s long-held previous address on Spring Street, where we attended many, many exhibits over the span of a few short years. The Wooster Street address is just temporary, until Allouche can find an ideal new home in which to showcase the works of his cache of represented contemporary pop artists, such as Ron English and FAILE. A low-key opening reception took place last Thursday and fans of the gallery were more than happy to have a destination to draw them in from the newly-arrived polar vortex holding adventure-seeking Manhattanites in its tight grip.

Faile Fox Hunt Go Get Em
FAILE: Fox Hunt Go Get Em

The current exhibit is a bit of a ‘warm up’ or re-boot, featuring both new and older works in Allouche’s collection. If you were fortunate enough to attend last summer’s FAILE exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, then the above collage will look familiar to you, as will the bright Neon sign in the gallery’s front window, which was included in the BAST/FAILE Arcade collaboration.

Detail from Faile Fox Hunt Go Get Em
Fox Hunt Go Get Em Detail

Jessica Lichtenstein Afterglow

Also on display are the Japanese Manga-influenced works by Jessica Lichtenstein, including the title piece from her Afterglow exhibit seen previously at Gallery nine5.

Afterglow Detail
Afterglow Detail

Lichtenstein’s works are recognizable for the flocks of tiny naked ladies in her images; which, from a distance, can easily be mistaken for blossom clusters. Clever.

Jessica Lichtenstein War
Jessica Lichtenstein: War (2013) Edition of 3

She has also this piece in the show, which is populated with hyper-sexualized, semi-clad females cavorting on WMDs. War is Hell.

Rafa Macarron Caos
Rafa Macarron, Caos

Spanish artist Rafa Macarron has several of his mix-media large canvases in the show. His cartoonish drawings are lots of fun.

Rafa Macarron Caos Detai
Caos, Detail

Ron English
Ron English, All American Lady Lick

Kid Zoom Rose
Kid Zoom, Rose

Psychogeography
Dustin Yellin, Psychogeography Study, Matter

The gallery has a small rear space, where they managed to stage a surprising number of pieces, including these two glass/acrylic sculptures by Dustin Yellin.

Zulu Jungle Cave No. 1
Dustin Yellin, Zulu Jungle Cave No. 1

Warhol Map
Andy Warhol, Map of Eastern USSR Missile Bases

And of course, the Holy Trinity of late, NYC-based pop artists, Warhol, Haring and Basquiat are all represented.

Basquiat Untitled
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled Drawings

Allouche Gallery Pop-Up Space is Located at 148 Wooster Street, Between Price and Houston, in Soho, NYC. Permanent Location Coming Soon!

Gallery View

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, at the Brooklyn Museum

Basquiat Unknown Notebooks Signage
All Photos By Gail

During his career, Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) filled numerous notebooks with poetry fragments, wordplay, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. The first major exhibition of these notebooks, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, features 160 pages of rarely seen documents, along with related works on paper and large-scale paintings.

Art

A self-taught artist with encyclopedic and cross-cultural interests, Basquiat was influenced by comics, advertising feather flags, children’s sketches, Pop art, hip-hop, politics, and everyday life. Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks emphasizes the distinct interplay of text and images in Basquiat’s art, providing unprecedented insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process.

Antidote

The notebook pages on display contain early renderings of iconic imagery — tepees, crowns, skeleton-like figures, and grimacing faces — that also appear throughout his large-scale works, as well as an early drawing related to his series of works titled Famous Negro Athletes.

Famous Negro Athletes 1981
Famous Negro Athletes (1981)

Highlighting the contributions of African Americans and exposing the racism embedded in America culture were ongoing concerns for Basquiat. He developed the subject of “Famous Negro Athletes” early on, and continued to depict baseball players and boxers throughout his career; many of these works are generalized portraits, and some represent specific individuals. In the above drawing from 1981, four black faces, loosely sketched and grimacing with gritted teeth, appear above a baseball and the title text.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show!

All Beef Yellow
All Beef

The exhibit features two of these “sandwich board” paintings, where each side of the board reveals a slight modification on the theme.

All Beef White
All Beef

Famous 1

Famous (Above and Below)

Famous 2

Ideal

Untitled Crayon Drawings 1981
Untitled (Crayon Drawings, 1981)

Anti- Baseball Card Product
Anti-Baseball Card Product (1979)

Part of a series of collages alluding to commercial baseball trading cards, Anti-Baseball Card Product includes a photo-booth image of Basquiat and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Stein. A PEZ candy wrapper, cut up and and reconfigured, shows Basquiat’s early interest in inverting text and experimenting with language as a visual element.

Before becoming an active studio artist, Basquiat made small collages from from photographs, bar codes, advertisements, fingerprints, discarded packaging and other found materials. He photographed these collages and sold them as postcards on the streets of Lower Manhattan.

This exhibit is enthusiastically recommended for both Basquiat completists and neophytes alike!

Basquiat, The Unknown Notebooks will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2015 at at the Brooklyn Museum, located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052. Take the 2 or 3 Train to Eastern Parkway/ Brooklyn Museum.

Kobra’s Warhol and Basquiat Mural, Williamsburg

Warhol Basquiat Mural By Kobra
Photo By Gail

Now that summer is here, a warm, sunny day is the perfect time to go on a Street Art Safari around the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and the adjacent Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Just take the L Train from Manhattan to either the Bedford Avenue or Lorimer Avenue stops and you’ve got an urban Wonderland that’s yours to freely explore. Recently, we spotted this colorful piece by Brazilian mural artist Eduardo Kobra on North Ninth Street just east of Bedford Avenue and instantly recognized it as an homage to one of the 1985, black-and-white portrait photo’s by Michael Halsband (see below), which captured Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol wearing Everlast shorts and boxing gloves.

Warhol and Basquiat
Original Photo Image Source

Stay tuned to The Gig for more Brooklyn Street Art plus reports on fun stuff to do in Brooklyn this Summer!

Kobra Warhol Basquiat Williamsburg

Sur-Real at Woodward Gallery

Cristina Vergano
Art By Cristina Vergano (All Photos By Gail)

Not necessarily comprised of surrealist works, Sur-real is a bit of a mixed exhibit bag now showing at Woodward Gallery on the Lower East Side. Participating artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thomas Buildmore, Deborah Claxton, Sybil Gibson, Richard Hambleton, Kosbe, David Larson, Mark Mastroianni, Margaret Morrison, NoseGo, Kenji Nakayama, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, stikman, Jeremy Szopinski, Francesco Tumbiolo, Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk, Cristina Vergano, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Andy Warhol, so there’s something for just about every taste in modern and contemporary art.

Flowers and BaguetteHot Chocolate

We attended the opening reception on a frigid and snowy Saturday evening, when the gallery welcomed guests with cups of hot chocolate and tiny slices of baguette, which we enjoyed dipping in the steaming hot cocoa! Comforting!

Dog By Andy Warhol
Dog By Andy Warhol

Here’ a painting by Andy Warhol that I had actually never seen before. And I didn’t think that was possible.

Stikman

The artist known only as Stikman is best known for his yellow painted Stick Figures that you see mostly on sidewalks and the blacktop. Here you see the iconic Stikman figure constructed of reflective material and perched inside a bird cage. I love the zebra-like shadows that the cage’s bars cast off of the Stikman’s mirrored surface.

Margaret Morrison
Candy Apples by Margaret Morrison

Artist Margaret Morrison has a few nice pieces in the show.

Margaret Morrison
Time Out by Margaret Morrison

Self Portrait By Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Self Portrait By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

While I was looking at the above drawing by the late, great author Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the person standing next to me actually said, “Wasn’t he also a writer?” I wish I was kidding.

Dennis Oppenheim
Search for Clues By Dennis Oppenheim

Not bad for our first Art Crawl of the New Year!

Sur-Real will be on Exhibit Through February 22, 2014, at Woodward Gallery, Located at 133 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM and by Appointment.

Leila Heller Gallery Presents Calligraffiti 1984 / 2013

Art by el Seed
Art By el Seed, All Photos By Gail

Geoffrey and I were in the thick of an exhausting Art Crawl last Saturday, trying to catch up on dozens of exhibits whose opening receptions we weren’t able to hit on September 12th — the official kick off to the NY Art Scene’s Fall/Winter Season — when we were drawn into the Leila Heller Gallery by the colorful graphic mural by Tunisian artist el Seed wrapping the gallery’s windows from 25th Street around the corner and down 11th Avenue.

La2's Keith Hering Graffiti Room
La2’s Homage to Keith Haring Graffiti Room

I really enjoyed this exhibit, which has close to a hundred pieces by dozens of contributing artists. Read the press release for more information at This Link. I’m just going to post photos I took of a few of my favorite pieces without much further commentary, if any.
Fame by Nir Hod
Fame by Nir Hod

LEILA PAZOOKI  This Is Not Green
This Is Not Green by Leila Pazooki

HOSSEIN ZENDEROUDI  Untitled
Untitled work by Hossein Zenderoudi

Rob Wynne  Appear!
Appear! by Rob Wynne

Group Wall Shot
Group Wall Shot with Pierre Soulages and Lee Krasner, Top Row from Right

Bowery and Broadway Subway Signs By Keith Haring
Bowery and Broadway Subway Signs By Keith Haring

Keith Haring Self Portrait
Keith Haring Self Portrait

Calligraffiti will be on Exhibit through October 5th, 2013, at Leila Heller Gallery, Located at 568 West 25th Street (at 11th Avenue) New York, NY 10001.

Must See Art – Keith Haring: 1978–1982 at The Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring Exhibit Card

Image Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum. All Additional Photos By Me.

Spring has sprung, and the cherry blossoms are in serious bloom out front of the Brooklyn Museum, where from now until July 8th you can see an exciting retrospective on the early career of the late Keith Haring. Here in downtown NYC, especially, Haring’s humorous yet socially provocative, instantly recognizable pop art images are enduring and almost ubiquitous even 22 years after his death. I’ve always been attracted to Keith’s clever line drawings and the sense of humor inherent in his work, but it wasn’t until I watched Christina Clausen’s 2008 documentary The Universe of Keith Haring (rent it on Netflix) that I realized what a true visionary and genius he was. It seems that the great ones always leave us too soon.

Keith Haring Long Wall Mural

According to the official press release, Keith Haring: 1978–1982 is the first large-scale exhibition to explore the early career of one of the best-known American artists of the twentieth century. Tracing the development of Haring’s extraordinary visual vocabulary, the exhibition includes 155 works on paper, numerous experimental videos, and over 150 archival objects, including rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings, and documentary photographs.

Keith Haring Exhibit Crowd

The exhibition chronicles the period in Haring’s career from his arrival in New York City through the years when he started his studio practice and began making public and political art on the city streets. Immersing himself in New York’s downtown culture, he quickly became a fixture on the artistic scene, befriending other artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, as well as many of the most innovative cultural figures of the period. The critical role that these relationships played in Haring’s development as a public artist and facilitator of group exhibitions and performances is also explored.

Keith Haring Subway Art with Pia Zadora

Pieces on view include a number of very early works never before seen in public; seven video pieces, including Painting Myself into a Corner (his first video piece) and Tribute to Gloria Vanderbilt; and collages created from cut-up fragments of his own writing, history textbooks, and newspapers. Keith Haring died from AIDS related complications in February of 1990 at the age of 31, but his art and message will live on forever. For more information on the Keith Haring exhibit visit the Brooklyn Museum’s website at this link.

Keith Haring Where Meat Comes From

Keith Haring: 1978–1982 will be on Exhibit through July 8, 2012 in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor of The Brooklyn Museum, located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, which is easily accessible from Manhattan via the 2 or 3 Trains to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum exit. So Easy! Hours are Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Thursday: 11:00 AM –10:00 PM and Friday–Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Phone: (718)638-5000 for Additional Information.

Keith Haring Flyer Wall

See Additional Photos from this exhibit at According2g.com and after the jump!

Continue reading

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade at The Brooklyn Museum


It is no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I am all about Andy Warhol. When it comes to matters of the art (pun intended) Geoffrey and I will agree on most things, but we differ slightly in opinion when it comes to Warhol. While he admits to being a fan, Geoffrey has a love/hate relationship with Andy, feeling that he ruined art as much as he saved it by facilitating the “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” approach to everyman stardom that has created such reprehensible pieces of shit as The Real Housewives, Big Brother and the Kardashian sisters. I see his point, but I would have to respectfully disagree with his take that Warhol “ruined” art in any way. On the contrary, by being the very first artist to infiltrate fine art with a commercial art approach and accompanying sensibilities, Warhol made art truly accessible to the masses for the first time in history. In this way, he revolutionized Modern Art as we know it. Regardless of his many eccentricities and the commonly held belief that he was somewhat of an asshole in person, Andy Warhol was a maverick pioneer of staggering genius. He is my favorite artist ever in the Universe of all time. Andy Warhol!

Easter Eggs, Photo By Geoffrey Dicker

You can probably imagine then how excited I was to finally have the time to check out Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, which has been up for over a month now over at the Brooklyn Museum. The Last Decade is the first US museum retrospective to examine the later period work of Andy Warhol (who died in 1987). With close to fifty works in the collection, the exhibition reveals a “renewed spirit of experimentation” that Warhol experienced in his final ten years. At this time, Warhol produced more works in series form, and on a vastly larger scale, than at any other point in his forty-year career. With his controversial Oxidations series as well as his Yarn, Rorschach and Camouflage paintings, the visual style of his work progressed along with the introduction of new techniques. Inspired by collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Keith Haring, Warhol also returned to hand-painted images using a brush.


Camouflage (Reminds Me a Little of This)

The Last Decade is much different from another recent Warhol exhibit I saw back in February of 2009, Warhol Live at San Francisco’s DeYoung Museum which, while comprehensive, was primarily about Warhol’s portraits. With exception of the “Fright Wig” self-portraits (one of which provides the primary image used by the museum for promoting this exhibit) and the Interview Magazine cover portraits, I’d never seen any of these images on exhibit before. And discovering something new about an artist who’s already been dead for over two decades is always fun.

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade at The Brooklyn Museum (in the 1st Floor Robert E. Blum Gallery and the 5th Floor Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing) runs through September 12, 2010. From Manhattan take the 2 or 3 to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop, and you’re right there.