EYE CANDY

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Million-Dollar Messages

Though Jean-Michel Basquiat died in 1988 at 27, he’s still managed to become one of the month’s buzziest artists. On Tuesday night, one of his 1982 paintings brought in a record-breaking $57.3 million at Christie’s postwar auction, and the week before, he even took part in Frieze week with a solo opening at Nahmad Contemporary. Up until June 11th, “Words Are All We Have” features some of his wordiest and most seminal works, along with plenty of deeper cuts – some paintings were last shown in the U.S. in 1983, or never at all. He even happens to be on-trend with canvases covered in messages: nods to Moses and Leonardo da Vinci, groceries like Oreos and sweet potatoes, and the trademark crown that’s since earned its spot in the tattoo hall of fame. Catch up with some afternoon reading, here.

1

“Moses and the Egyptians,” 1982. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas.

Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa; Gift of Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich. © The Estate of Jean- Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

2

“Eroica II,” 1988. Acrylic and oilstick on paper mounted on canvas.

Nicola Emi Collection, Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery. © The Estate of Jean- Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

3

“Untitled (Oreo),” 1988. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas. Never displayed in the U.S.

Private collection. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

4

“New,” 1983. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas. Exhibited once before in the U.S. in 1983.

Private collection. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

5

“Fake,” 1983. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas. Exhibited once before in the U.S. in 1983.

Private collection. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

6

“Discography II,” 1983. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas.

Private Collection, Courtesy Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Switzerland. © The Estate of Jean- Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

7

“Jack Johnson,” 1982. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas. Last displayed in the U.S. in 1983.

Private collection. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

8

“Thesis,” 1983. Acylic and oilstick on canvas. Last displayed in the U.S. in 1989.

Private collection. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

9

“Now’s the Time,” 1985. Acrylic and oilstick on wood.

Private collection, courtesy of the Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

10

“Eroica I,” 1988. Acrylic and oilstick on paper mounted on canvas.

Nicola Emi Collection, Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery. © The Estate of Jean- Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.

11

“Joe,” 1983. Acrylic and oilstick on canvas.

Courtesy of the Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT. © The Estate of Jean- Michel Basquiat / Licensed by Artestar, New York.