Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol’s formal meeting in 1982 sparked a friendship that would give rise to one of the most celebrated artistic collaborations of the 20th century. Basquiat x Warhol at The Brant Foundation delves into this dynamic partnership, shedding light on their shared inspirations, mutual trust, and political concerns.
From 1984 onwards, Basquiat and Warhol embarked on a joint yet complementary artistic journey, resulting in over 160 canvases. Meeting daily, they worked on multiple monumental canvases simultaneously, reflecting a dynamic interplay in their paintings. The works combined Warhol’s screen-printed advertisements and cultural symbols with Basquiat’s iconic figures and signs, creating a powerful tension between the two artists’ unique styles.
The collaboration extended beyond paintings, as seen in the monumental sculpture “Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper)” (1985-86), addressing themes like Catholic guilt, police brutality, colonialism, gentrification, and commodification. This collaborative dialogue in paint, rather than words, allowed them to examine the socio-political turmoil and the impact of the AIDS epidemic during the 1980s.
In 2019, The Brant Foundation inaugurated its East Village space with a remarkable Basquiat exhibition, rekindling the connection between the East Village and an artist who profoundly impacted the downtown arts community.
In Spring 2023, the Foundation showcased Thirty Are Better Than One, a comprehensive Andy Warhol exhibition, bringing another iconic postwar New York artist to the venue. Basquiat x Warhol now brings both artists together, featuring a selection of masterpieces from their early ’80s collaboration unseen together in New York for over two decades.
Peter Brant established the Brant Foundation in 1996. The foundation provides works of art for scholarly study and analysis. In addition to their loan scheme, the foundation provides a variety of initiatives with the goal of enhancing public exposure to contemporary art while promoting scholarship and creativity.
Basquiat x Warhol will be on view through January 7, 2024.
Featured image: Jean-Michel Basquiat Dos Cabezas (1982). Courtesy of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.