The Collaboration: Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

When the Eat Like Andy video of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger was shown at the 2019 Super Bowl, Google exploded.  A new generation was discovering the genius of Andy Warhol.

The art of Andy Warhol has been an exciting part of our fine art print collection at VFA. We have always  appreciated his great style and masterfully done prints. We took for granted that the rest of the world knew and appreciated them, as well.

The life and art  of Andy Warhol has gotten increased attention recently. Every aspect of his life is explored in the Netflix docuseries The Andy Warhol Diaries. The documentary uses an AI voice to read the notes that Warhol dictated every day to his friend, Pat Hackett, for about a decade.

There was a recent retrospective that focused on his religious beliefs, on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The play, Chasing Andy Warhol, is being performed by the Bated Breath Theatre Company in the West Village. The Peterson Automotive Museum will be showing Andy Warhol: Cars – Works from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection later this month and, now, a play about the artist is headed for the big screen.

The Collaboration is a play set in 1984, when Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat worked together on paintings. Both men died not long after their collaboration; Warhol in 1987 from complications after surgery and Basquiat in 1988 from a drug overdose, just eighteen months after Warhol’s death.  The play opened at the Young Vic Theatre in London. It’s set to open at the Friedman Theater on Broadway on December 20, 2022.

The Collaboration stars Paul Bettany as Warhol and Jeremy Pope as Basquiat. The two are expected to reprise their roles in a film adaptation later this year.

In July of 1962, sixty years ago, that Andy Warhol exhibited a wall of 32 Campbell’s Soup paintings at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. The Campbell’s Soup Company was concerned about Warhol’s use of its trademark design and sent a lawyer to the gallery, but decided not to pursue legal action.

The show didn’t do well. Only five of the paintings were sold, for $100 each. Actor Dennis Hopper bought one. Gallery owner Irving Blum saw something in Warhol’s work at the time that most people did not. He bought the five paintings back, and kept them together. In 1996, Blum sold the original set of 32 can paintings to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in a partial sale/gift valued at $15 million. The auction record for a Warhol is $195 million, set earlier this year for Shot Sage Blue Marilyn.

Warhol’s work took off soon after the show at Ferus. The Campbell’s Soup Company reached out to him in 1964, and commissioned a painting for one of their retiring board members. The company has a soup can painting hanging in its Camden, New Jersey, headquarters, and works with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in charitable projects.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat available at VFA.


References:
Michael Paulson. ‘The Collaboration,’ About Warhol and Basquiat, Plans Broadway Bow. The New York Times. July 7, 2022.
Mike Fleming Jr. Anthony McCarten’s Warhol-Basquiat Stage Play ‘The Collaboration’ Heading For Big Screen; Helmer Kwame Kwei-Armah, Paul Bettany & Jeremy Pope Reprise. Deadline. February 3, 2022.
Anna Rahmanan. A new play about Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat is headed to Broadway. Time Out. July 11, 2022.
Alexandra Peers. Why Campbell Soup hated, then embraced, Andy Warhol’s soup can paintings. CNN Business. July 9, 2022.

Basquiat Burglary Bungled, Takashi Murakami Combines Digital and Analog

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Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

A couple walked into the Tagliatelle Gallery in Chelsea on May 14 and took Dog Leg Study, a screenprint by Jean- Michel Basquiat, from its display. The print was in the gallery owner’s office, which also serves as a private viewing room. Security cameras caught the man and woman standing in front of the work, photographing it with their cell phones and apparently searching for information about its value.

The couple took the work, and a third-full bottle of Maker’s Mark, and tried to leave the gallery with both items. A staff member intervened and got the screenprint back, but they walked out with the whiskey.

NYPD is still looking for the pair. There is a photo of the couple, who were identified only as ‘having an unknown European accent’, walking to the gallery, but so far, no arrests have been made.

Dog Leg Study is valued at $45,000.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat have garnered some of the highest prices at auction in the past few years. Just four days after the botched burglary of Dog Leg Study, one of his works sold at Phillips auction for $85 million. Six years ago, Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa bought the Untitled work at Christie’s for $57.3 million.

Takashi Murakami 1962 –

Takashi Murakami loved anime and manga as a child, and intended to study animation. Instead, he studied Nihonga, the traditional art of Japan, and received a PhD from the Tokyo University of the Arts. He went on to create his own style of art, Superflat, and brought to Japan a genre of work that transcends and combines traditional and commercial art.

His most recent exhibit, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, contains both digital NFTs and sculptures based on the digital models. “When I work on a creative production, I make no distinction between digital and analog.” he said, “I’m always working in the context of contemporary art, and that context is all about whether I can be involved in events that manage to trigger a cognitive revolution.”

According to the gallery’s website, “The immersive viewing experience, created by RTFKT and Oncyber, is accessible online via gagosian.com or through a VR headset and allows access to the entire exhibition from anywhere in the world.” The gallery is accepting cryptocurrency.

An Arrow through History opened on May 11, and will be on view through June 25, 2022.

A special exhibit dedicated to Murakami is on view at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibit features all of the museum’s Murakami works and new immersive environments. Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow will be on view at The Broad  through September 25, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Takashi Murakami available at VFA.


References:
Chantal Da Silva. Man, woman try to steal $45K Basquiat painting from Manhattan gallery, police say. NBC News. May 26, 2022.
Shawn Ghassemitari. Couple Attempts to Steal a Framed Basquiat Artwork From a Manhattan Gallery. HypeArt. May 27, 2022.
Jesse O’Neill. Suspects try to steal $45K Basquiat painting from Manhattan exhibit. The New York Post. May 25, 2022.
Steve Smith. Weekend arts planner: Takashi Murakami, ‘Fat Ham,’ Eddie Palmieri. The Gothamist. May, 28, 2022.

Kenny Scharf Honored by National Academy; Basquiat Honored by Family

Kenny Scharf 1958 –

Kenny Scharf was honored at the TriBeCa Ball at the New York Academy of Art on April 19th.

The annual event raises funds for the Academy’s programming and also gives Academy students a chance to showcase and sell their own artwork.

Scharf painted a mural at the Academy the day before the event. “My connection to the school goes way back to the ’70s, and it’s actually why I moved to New York,” Scharf said, in an interview in  Vogue magazine. “[Eileen Guggenheim (current head of the Academy)] was a visiting teacher of mine at the University of California Santa Barbara. She was a visiting teacher from New York, and it was a very big lecture hall, maybe 500 kids in there, but she was teaching 20th-century art and we were all wrapped listening to her great story-telling, but basically when she got to the factory-ing and Warhol and all the excitement about the life of an artist, basically I sold my car and moved to New York, 1977.”

Scharf was joined at the Ball by Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Brooke Shields, who is on the Academy’s Board and other celebrities and major players in the art world.

Kenny Scharf came of age as an artist in the 1980s East Village art scene, along with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives and works there now, close to his grandchildren.

He lost some of his closest friends during the 1980s, from drug overdoses and AIDS. In spite of the difficulty of the times, Scharf’s work has always focused on joy, hope and optimism. He was one earliest artists to bridge the gap between illegal graffiti and street art.

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s meteoric rise to fame in the 1980s was a blessing and curse. He was one of the most talented artists of his day and, sadly, died from a heroin overdose at the age of 27.

He was prolific, a true and unique artist, who painted when and where he could. He painted on canvas and board in his studio even left his mark on the walls and appliances in friends’ apartments. Basquiat worked hard and lived hard.

Basquiat’s sisters, Lisanne Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, his stepmother Nora Fitzpatrick, and other extended family members, have curated an exhibit that they hope shows the true character of the artist as opposed to the Pop icon that he has become.

They have even recreated rooms, with original furniture, from Basquiat’s family home. “Not only did he sketch and paint and draw—he was a poet,” Jeanine Heriveaux said, in a Brooklyn Magazine interview. “He was an actor, he was a producer. He auditioned to be a member of a noise band. He walked the runway for Commes des Garcons in Paris.”

The show includes more than 200 never-before  or rarely seen artworks by Basquiat. King Pleasure, is the title of the exhibit and the title of a painting created by Basquiat in 1987. King Pleasure is the name of a bebop-loving bartender turned jazz vocalist whose first hit, in 1952, “Moody’s Mood For Love,” catapulted him to fame. A soundtrack of some of Basquiat’s favorite music accompanies the exhibit. Listen Like Basquiat can be accessed on the Spotify website.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure is currently on exhibit at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat available at VFA.


References:
John Ortved. The Artist Kenny Scharf Honored at TriBeCa Ball. The New York Times. April 22, 2022.
Kristen Tauer. Inside NYAA’s Tribeca Ball Honoring Kenny Scharf. Women’s Wear Daily. April 20, 2022.
Zachary Weiss. Brooke Shields, Naomi Watts, and More Honor Kenny Scharf at this Year’s Tribeca Ball. Vogue. April 21, 2022.
Vittoria Benzine. ‘Badassery in Action.’: New Basquiat exhibit shows the man behind the mythology. Brooklyn Magazine. April 13, 2022.
Tessa Solomon. Listen to Basquiat’s Favorite Music With Spotify Playlists Curated for a New Immersive Exhibition. ArtNews. April 14, 2022.
Carl Swanson. A Basquiat Family Reunion The artist’s sisters have put on an exhibition of his work to remind the world where he came from — and have a party. New York Magazine/Curbed. April 11, 2022.

Alex Katz Mural in Texas, Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide

Alex Katz 1927 –

A 35,000 square-foot, hand-painted mural by Alex Katz, was unveiled in Woodlands, Texas, a planned community just north of Houston. The mural was commissioned by the Howard Hughes Corporation to enhance the public plaza at the Woodlands Town Center.

A retrospective of Katz’s work, which will celebrate the artist’s more than seven-decade career, is scheduled to be held at the Guggenheim, New York from October 2022 through  February 2023. Katz currently has a solo exhibition in Brussels, and upcoming exhibits in London, Trento, Madrid, Austria, the Netherlands, Chicago and Maine.

Kenny Scharf 1958 –

In the summer of 2021, director Maria Scharf, released her film Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide. The documentary is a warm and loving look at the career of the father Kenny, one of America’s most unique artists.

Kenny Scharf was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was heavily influenced by the cartoons, Pop culture and the Cold War anxiety of the 1960s.

He moved to New York and obtained a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in 1980. Scharf’s roommate was Keith Haring. Joined by Jean-Michel Basquiat and other young graffiti artists, they had a group show at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1983 that was panned by critics. New York Times art critic, Grace Glueck, called the show, “unsettling.” “Apart from its illegality,” she wrote, “the very idea of enshrining graffiti – an art of the streets impulsive and spontaneous by nature – in the traditional, time-honored medium of canvas, is ridiculous.”

The artists persisted, and Scharf pushed back. He encouraged his fellow artists to study art history and get a sense of how to thrive in the world of museums and galleries.

Scharf went on to have successful gallery shows during the 1980s and, in 1985, his work was selected for the Whitney Museum’s Biennial. He received raved reviews, with one critic saying that his work, “leaves you with hope, joy, play and optimism, and a sense of love….”

The optimism of his works was offset by the loss of Keith Haring to AIDS and Jean-Michel Basquiat to a drug overdose.

He traveled and worked in both New York and LA for a while, and finally settled in California. He lives in Culver City, close to his grandchildren and to his friend, artist Ed Ruscha, who took part in the film.

Scharf’s works are as optimistic and as much fun as they have ever been. He has collaborated with Dior and other fashion houses and even created signature masks during the pandemic.

An exhibit of the works of Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat is current on display at the Opera Gallery in Hong Kong.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Alex Katz, Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha or any of the other fine artwork available at VFA.


References:
Jennifer Bruse. Community celebrates new Art Mural by Artist Alex Katz in The Woodlands Waterway Square. Hello Woodlands. April 11, 2002.
Lorrie Parise. Community Invited To Free Celebration of New Mural, Flowers, By Renowned Contemporary Artist, Alex Katz. Woodlands Online. March 31, 2022.
Andy Battaglia. Guggenheim Museum to Mount Retrospective for Alex Katz, New York Painter Extraordinaire, in 2022. Artnews. January 17, 2020.
Time Out Magazine. Basquiat, Haring, Scharf at Opera Gallery Hong Kong. April 8, 2022.
Robert Abele. Review: ‘Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide’ reveals the triumph of a committed artist. The Los Angeles Times. June 24, 2021.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Derrick Adams at VFA

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

In 1983, a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, titled Equals Pi, was featured in GQ magazine. Basquiat had achieved superstardom by then and his personal lifestyle, as well as his artwork, was the focus of many stories in publications around the world.

The dichotomy between Basquiat’s anti-establishment art and his being embraced by the establishment is understandable; he was a genius who lived life on his own terms and had a profound influence on art and fashion during his short lifetime.

Tiffany and Company has recently purchased Equals Pi and is using it in an ad campaign featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z. Tiffany reportedly bought the painting for between $15-$20 million dollars. It’s the background blue color that attracted the company.

Tiffany’s executive Vice President, Alexandre Arnault, said in an interview in Women’s Wear Daily that because the blue background is the same as Tiffany’s signature blue, Basquiat could have been giving a nod to Tiffany. “We don’t have any literature that says he made the painting for Tiffany. We know he loved New York, and that he loved luxury and he loved jewelry. The color is so specific that it has to be some kind of homage.”

The painting will be placed permanently in Tiffany’s flagship store in Manhattan.

Whether Basquiat had Tiffany’s in mind or not, using Beyonce and Jay-Z in their ad campaign, posing in front of Equals Pi, will amass a new generation of Basquiat fans and collectors.

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams’ style and unique perspective have earned him a special place in the art world.

Adams takes ‘the pursuit of happiness’ very seriously, especially as it pertains to Black Americans. His depictions of family, friends, and even of himself, at play are filled with color and joy. The underlying political themes in his works are presented with clarity, often with humor and always with great skill.

Adams was commissioned by the Milwaukee Museum of Art to create a mural for its On Site series. The mural, titled In Our Time Together, was inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book by Victor Hugo Green, first published in 1936, as a traveler’s guide for Black Americans during the Jim Crow era.  The mural is currently on display and is part of an ongoing exhibit.

“In Our Time Together, I highlight Milwaukee by representing commercial and civic gathering spaces known within the Black community,” Adams said. “These places, and those who spend time in them, are essential to the growth of American society as a whole — to its cultural, political, and creative output, which spreads out to a global audience. The installation reflects my respect and admiration for the perseverance of Black Americans in their pursuit of happiness and speaks to transformation, belonging, and normalcy.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Derrick Adams available at VFA.


References:
Nick Kenyon. The Real Star Of Tiffany’s New Campaign Is Jean-Michel Basquiat. Boss Hunting. August 24, 2021.
Christie’s. Jean-Michel Basquiat: ‘Painter to the core’. Post-War & Contemporary Art. November 2, 2021.
Sammy Su. JAY-Z and Beyonce’s Tiffany Ad Upsets Basquiat’s Friends and Collaborators. HypeArt. September 7, 2021.
Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle. The Auction Market Of Artist Derrick Adams Is On The Rise. Forbes. November 7, 2021.
Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee Art Museum.

Andy Warhol Exhibits in China and Russia; Jean-Michel Basquiat Exhibit in Chelsea

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In the early 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat was at the height of his career. Andy Warhol was experiencing a renewed burst of fame, after focusing on filmmaking in the 1970s, and returning to painting.

Basquiat and Warhol collaborated on a series of works, with Basquiat usually painting over Warhol’s initial composition, with the resulting works enhancing both of their careers.

What the artists did not know at that time, was that their works would have an enduring legacy, and sadly, that their lives would be cut short.

Andy Warhol died of complications during routine gallbladder surgery on February 22, 1987, at age 58.  Jean-Michel Basquiat died, a year-and-a half later, on August 12, 1988, of a heroin overdose, at age 27.

The works of each are as relevant as ever and have garnered global acclaim.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s work is currently being shown in major exhibitions in China and Russia.

Becoming Andy Warhol is the most comprehensive exhibit of Warhol’s works ever to be shown in China. Nearly 400 works, including paintings, photographs and objects that depict his early life and career are on display. There’s even a replica of the red couch that was in The Factory and was the backdrop for many of the celebrity photos taken by, and of, Warhol. Becoming Andy Warhol will be displayed at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing through October 10, 2021 and then travel to the Center for Contemporary Arts in Shanghai, where it will be on display from November 6, 2021 through March 6, 2022.

More than 100 of Warhol’s works are being shown alongside Russian Pop artists at the Sevkabel Port in St. Petersburg expo center now through September 2021. Andy Warhol and Russian Art highlights the influence that Warhol had on artists in the Soviet Union.

Recent acquisitions at VFA by Andy Warhol include Campbell’s Soup/Pepper Pot and Grace Kelly.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

During his too-brief lifetime, Jean-Michel Basquiat painted on canvas, wood and any other surface that he could put his brush to, including the doors and walls of the homes in which he lived and visited.

Because he only lived for 27 years, his oeuvre was limited, which makes every work so precious.

The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, co-led by his sister, Jeanine Heriveaux, is preparing for an exhibition of his work at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan in the Spring of 2022. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure will include over 200 works by Basquiat that have either never before or rarely been seen.

“There’s been many exhibitions of Jean-Michel’s work,” Heriveaux said, “but never told from the perspective of the family – Jean-Michel as a child, a man, a son, and a brother.”

VFA’s recent acquisitions of the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat include Ligaments of the Elbow and Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat available at VFA.


References:
Yang Yan. Beijing exhibits hundreds of works by American pop artist Andy Warhol. China Global Television Network. July 5, 2021.
ArtfixDaily Artwire. Phillips’ London New Now Auction on 13 July to be Led by Andy Warhol’s Flowers. July 5, 2021.
Brycen Saunders. An Ultra Rare Collection of Andy Warhol Photographs Is Coming to NeueHouse Hollywood. Hypebeast. June 11, 2021.
Peter Cheremushkin. Russian Artists Take Andy Warhol’s Pop Art Vision and Run With It. The Moscow Times. July 2, 2021.
Matt Stromberg. ‘He was aware of racist pigeonholes’: how Basquiat took inspiration from jazz, hip-hop and no wave. The Guardian. June 11, 2021.
Helen Holmes. An Exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Never-Before-Seen Works is Coming Next Spring. The Observer. June 11, 2021.
Julianne McShane. How Basquiat and Street Artists Left Their Mark on Hip-Hop Culture. The New York Times. June 24, 2021.
Cassie Packard. Basquiat’s Painting on an Apartment Door Acquired by Dallas Museum of Art. Hyperallergic. June 30, 2021.

New Work: Jonas Wood, Jean-Michel Basquiat and KAWS

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Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood has become an international contemporary art superstar. His mixed media painting, Two Tables with Floral Pattern, was estimated to sell for $2 – $3 million at last Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale last week. The painting sold for $6.5 million, a record for the artist’s work. It was also unusual in that many of Wood’s works are sold to buyers in Hong Kong, but Two Tables with Floral Pattern was sold to a buyer in the U.S.

Part of the universal appeal of Wood’s paintings, drawings and prints is the uplifting and colorful patterns he creates, many of which include images of the sculptures of his wife, Shio Kusaka.

The couple shares a studio in Los Angeles. In 2019, the Hammer Museum put together a video of the artist in his studio, for one of the many exhibits that Wood has been given at the museum.

Wood’s careful designs and fine art prints are what make him a favorite at VFA. “Printmaking is a big part of my process,” he said in a recent interview, “drawing is a big part of my process, and tracing and getting the basic shapes of things before I make the painting is a big part of my process.”

Besides lithographs and screenprints, one of our recent acquisitions is a soft ground etching, Pattern couch Interior with Mar Vista View, that Wood did in 2020.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

At the same Christie’s Contemporary auction that saw Jonas Wood’s work set a new record, works by Jean-Michel Basquiat did the same.

In This Case From, a large painting done in 1983, sold for $93 million. Works by other Black artists also did exceptionally well at the auction.

Fine art prints by Jean-Michel Basquiat are available at VFA. A recent acquisition, Ligaments of the Elbow, was produced in a grey and black palette and printed before Basquiat made the color values black and white and created the iconic series of 18 plates that make up The Anatomy Series.

KAWS

KAWS: What Party, a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, will be on exhibit through September 5, 2021. His instantly recognizable works have made Brian Donnelly (aka KAWS) a superstar around the world.

His latest project is The KAWS:HOLIDAY Hot-Air Balloon World Tour, that will officially take off at the end of the year. A 138-foot inflatable Companion has been turned into a hot air balloon and will be going on a world tour that will begin in Bristol, England.

KAWS’ sculptures and fine art prints are available at VFA.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Jonas Wood, Jean-Michel Basquiat and KAWS for sale at VFA.


References:
Artspace Editors. Jonas Wood breaks auction record at Christie’s. Artspace. May 13, 2021.
Colin Gleadell. $93 M. Basquiat Leads Christie’s 21st C. Evening Sale, $17 M. Cryptopunks Among Trending Talent. Artnews. May 12, 2021.
Zachary Small and Robin Pogrebin. Basquiat and Other Artists of Color Lead a Swell of Auction Sales. The New York Times. May 14, 2021.
Mark Westall. Take a KAWS Companion Hot Air Balloon Ride This Year in the UK.. FAD Magazine. May 17, 2021.
Paul Laster. From Graffiti to Augmented Reality: KAWS at the Brooklyn Museum. Art&Object Magazine. April 26, 2021.
Jake Silbert. KAWS is Taking a Hot Air Balloon Holiday.

Basquiat & Haring: Art + Music

The Art and Music of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

“Art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time.”
—Jean-Michel Basquiat

Time Decorated is a new documentary series, produced by the Broad Museum, that examines the impact of music on the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the impact of Basquiat on music. The documentary asserts that Basquiat was the connection between the bebop and hip-hop worlds.

In the 1980s Basquiat became part of the Downtown New York club scene, along with artists and musicians like Keith Haring, Madonna and Debby Harry.

In 1983, Basquiat created paintings of his Bebop music heroes like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, the same year that he produced and released a hip-hop single Beat Bop on his own label.

Basquiat’s connection to the Broad Museum in Los Angeles began when the museum’s founders, Eli and Edythe Broad, visited Basquiat’s studio in New York and invited him to visit them in LA.

The three part documentary series Time Decorated is available at the Broad Museum’s website.

The Continued Relevance of Keith Haring (1958-1990)

The public has a right to art. The public is being ignored by most contemporary artists. Art is for everybody. – Keith Haring

Keith Haring left his hometown of Kutztown, Pennsylvania in 1978 to study painting at the School of Visual Arts. He worked as a busboy and a janitor, doing whatever it took to keep creating the works that he wanted to be seen.

His subway drawings got him the public attention he garnered and he signed with his first gallery in 1982. In 1983 he had his first show in Europe.

Sweet and sincere, Haring’s social activism was easy for the public to embrace. His  murals, like the one he did, gratis, at Grace House, a center for at-risk youth in New York, are still fresh and relevant.

The mural was taken down, preserved and sold to an anonymous collector for nearly $4 million to help finance the renovations at Grace House in 2019. It is currently on loan to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

In his recent book, Lives of the Artists: Keith Haring, author Simon Doonan looks at the extraordinary career of the artist who died in 1990 at age 31, and whose legacy still resonates and endures.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, available at VFA.


References:
Lexis-Olivier Ray. How Music Steered the Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hyperallergic. March 2, 2021.
Madeleine Luckel. Why Artist Keith Haring Still Deserves Your Attention. Architectural Digest. February 19, 2021.
Jacqueline Cutler. Artist Keith Haring’s zest for life, his iconic work and his tragic death. New York Daily News. March 5, 2021.
Michael Paglia. Keith Haring’s Grace House Mural Makes Exhibition Debut at MCA Denver. Westword. March 8, 2021.

Keith Haring’s Collaborations, Celebration of 80 Years at the Norton Museum

Keith Haring’s Collaborations

In the recently published book, Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire, author Ricardo Montez looks at the way that Keith Haring connected with those around him, and how race and gender influenced his works.

Haring was very social, very driven and very curious about the world around him. He filled journals with pages of drawings, calligraphy and poetry. He collected the works of artists whom he met and admired in New York.

His legacy, the Keith Haring Foundation, supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, prevention, and care related to AIDS. Works from Haring’s personal collection were auctioned off last September to benefit New York’s LGBT Center. Haring’s collection included works by Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and other incredible and influential artists, whose works are available at VFA.

In 1978, Haring was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He painted a mural for an exhibit in the student gallery at 260 West Broadway. The building, an 8,000 square foot triplex loft has been converted to a private residence, with the original mural intact. The asking price for the Tribeca loft is $8 million.

Alex Katz, Jeff Koons Featured at the Norton Museum’s 80th Anniversary Celebration

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach opened its doors to the public on February 8, 1941 and has been an integral part of the community for the past eighty years.

Norton Museum of Art postcard, circa 1941 Courtesy of Norton Museum of Art.

The museum was renovated in 2019 with a new look and nearly 60,000 square feet of new or renovated space.

To mark the Norton’s 80th Anniversary, the museum held a virtual anniversary celebration and an art auction hosted by Sotheby’s.

Works by Alex Katz and Jeff Koons were featured in the auction.

One of the current exhibits at the Norton are prints and drawings from the collection of Esther M. and Sumner L. Feldberg. The collection includes work by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Sol Lewitt and other fine print artists. The exhibit runs through March 28, 2021.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Keith Haring, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Adriana Delgado. Norton celebrates 80th anniversary, virtual party and auction. Palm Beach Daily News. February 4, 2021.
Adam Rathe. Palm Beach’s Norton Museum Gets a Renovation by Norman Foster. Town&Country Magazine. February 5, 2019.
Dana Schulz. For $8M, this Tribeca loft comes with an original Keith Haring mural. 6sqft. February 9, 2021.
Danilo Machado. Keith Haring’s Lines of Desire. Hyperallergic. February 8, 2021.
Cassie Packard. Keith Haring’s Personal Collection Will Be Sold to Benefit New York’s LGBT Center. Hyperallergic. September 24, 2020.

A Mixtape for Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and Lou Reed

Nothing said I love you…or….I don’t love you anymore…like a mixtape in the 1970s and 1980s. A recently discovered mixtape, made by Lou Reed as a gift to Andy Warhol, reflects the complicated relationship between the musician and the artist. The tape of previously unreleased songs was discovered by Judith Peraino, professor of music at Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences, who discovered the tape while doing archival research at the Warhol Museum.

“What makes this rare is the gift aspect of the tape,” she said, “that Lou Reed intentionally created both a curated set of songs and a composed set of songs on tape meant only for Warhol. This is a harbinger of the mixtape culture and gift-giving that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Warhol managed The Velvet Underground, Reed’s ’60s band. They had a tumultuous relationship. Reed fired Warhol as manager in 1968, although Warhol continued to help the band.

Side 2 of the tape is labeled “Philosophy Songs (From A to B & Back)” after Warhol’s book by that title. The songs, which Reed sings alone while playing guitar, are both sad, heartfelt and apologetic, a reflection of the relationship between the two men.

Andy Warhol and Keith Haring

Andy Warhol met Keith Haring in 1984. Both men were collectors and stored away gifts and mementos that caught their fancy. Last week, Sotheby’s held an online auction called, Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring, which included gifts that Haring received and collected from many artist friends, like Kenny Scharf, George Condo, Jean Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein. One of the highlights of the auction was a Gumby watch, signed by Andy Warhol, that sold for $11,340.

Warhol’s Works Headed to China

Art lovers in China turned out in record numbers last year for a Picasso retrospective at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. It was the first time that a major museum in mainland China had done a show dedicated just to the works of Picasso, and it turned out to be a big hit. The museum is hoping to have another great success with a comprehensive show of over 200 works by Andy Warhol in 2021.

The museum usually focuses on the works of living artists, but the success of the Picasso show was the impetus for the staff to reach out to the Warhol Museum and arrange the exhibit, which will include paintings, prints, drawings, films, and photographs, as well as archival materials, that tell the story of Warhol’s  trajectory from his childhood in Pittsburgh to his command of the art world in New York.

Warhol’s famous portrait of Mao Zedong will probably not be included in the exhibit. The show, simply titled Andy Warhol will run from July 3 through October 10, 2021 in Beijing before traveling to Shanghai in November.

The Works of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine works of art available at VFA.

References:
Ben Sisario. A Long-Lost Lou Reed Tape With a Surprise: Andy Warhol Lyrics. The New York Times. October 30, 2019.
Linda B. Glaser. Musicologist discovers tape of unreleased Lou Reed music. Cornell Chronicle. October 30, 2019.
Far Out Magazine Staff. The long lost Lou Reed songs recorded for Andy Warhol. Far Out Magazine. October 4, 2020.
Taylor Dafoe. Beijing’s UCCA Broke Records With Its Blockbuster Picasso Show. It Wants to Do the Same With the Largest-Ever Andy Warhol Survey in China. artnetnews. October 5, 2020.
Eileen Kinsella. Sotheby’s $4.6 Million Sale of Keith Haring’s Personal Art Collection Tripled Expectations and Drew in Droves of New Buyers. artnetnews. October 2, 2020.
Chris Smith. Remember mixtapes? The history of the cassette. BT. August 20, 2018.

Recent Acquisitions at VFA

Here’s a quick look at some of the recent additions we’ve added to the VFA gallery:

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Ligaments of the Elbow

Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1960-88

Jean-Michel Basquiat was 27-years-old when he died of a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988 in studio on Great Jones Street in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood.

Many of Basquiat’s most powerful works were done just before his untimely death, including a 6 x 11 foot painting title Victor 25448, which is expected to garner over $10 million at Phillips Contemporary auction this month.

Ligaments of the Elbow, available at VFA, is part of the Anatomy Series that Basquiat began to work on after  his first solo show in New York, when gallery owner Annina Nosei gave him a studio in the basement of the gallery. It was there that Basquiat began to produce drawings of the anatomical forms that recur in his works.

Basquiat’s fascination with the human form began when he was seven and his mother gave him a copy of Grey’s Anatomy while he was recovering after being hit by a car.

His interest in social justice and Black history, as well as anatomy, can be seen in all of his work, like Wolf Sausage, King Brand, Dog Leg Study and Undiscovered Genius and Boxer Rebellionlimited edition screenprints, available at VFA.

Deborah Kass – OY/YO

Deborah KassOY/YO work continues to resonate with the public. BK Reader editor, C. Zawadi Morris, described the work’s appeal: “The art’s universality has the unique ability to speak across generations, cultures and ethnicities,” she wrote, “holding very simple yet profound meanings within Spanish-speaking, Jewish and Black American communities. It is a call to action, an expression and an acknowledgement of self.”

In addition to two Oy/Yo sculptures in our gallery, we can now offer a limited edition silkscreen with flocking of Oy/Yo.

Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood and Shio Kusaka.
Photo: University of Washington, School of Art

Many of the paintings of Jonas Wood are enormous and have exceeded the $1 million mark at recent auctions. For those of us who are more interested in fine art prints, Wood not only works with master printmakers, but has a print shop in his Culver City studio because, he says, that he’s “…pretty heavy into printmaking.”

In addition to his recent works, we also have a complete set of four lithographs done in 2014.

Richard Anuszkiewicz – Etchings

Richard Anuszkiewicz, May 23, 1930 – May 19, 2020.

Op Art pioneer, Richard Anuszkiewicz, died in his home in Englewood, New Jersey on May 19, 2020. He was 89.

His focus was on the interactions between  form and and color. “I’m interested in making something romantic out of a very, very mechanistic geometry,” he said.

The etchings he did in 1979, now available at VFA, are wonderful examples of his work that has remained timeless.

More Recent Acquisitions….

We’ve also added works by David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Beverly Fishman, Yoshito Nara, and Red Grooms.

Please contact us if you would like more information about any of the work available at VFA.


References:
Sarah Osei. One of Basquiat’s Largest Works Expected to Fetch $10 Million at Auction. Highsnobiety. June 26, 2020.
C. Zawadi Morris. Yo! Brooklyn Artist Deborah Kass Has Something to Say! BK Reader. October 15, 2018.
Jessie Carbutt. Yoshitomo Nara: Beyond the Big-Headed Girls. Metropolis. June 23, 2020.
Loney Abrams. Interview: Jonas Wood on His New Monograph and Limited-Edition Print. Artspace. November 21, 2019.
Jillian Steinhauer. Richard Anuszkiewicz, Whose Op Art Caught Eyes in the ’60s, Dies at 89. The New York Times. May 25, 2020.

Remembering Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring gave credibility to graffiti artists and took their works from the street into fine art galleries and museums. The frenetic energy of the New York art scene in the 1980s was a perfect time for both Basquiat and Haring to work, play and get the attention they desired and deserved. Both Basquiat and Haring died young, each in a tragic way, yet, decades later, their art still has the ability to impact and inspire young artists and art lovers.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat dropped out of school, and left his father’s home in Brooklyn, when he was seventeen.

He began doing graffiti on the streets of New York and couch surfing at the apartments of friends. Basquiat’s charm, talent and good looks made it easy for him to find welcoming friends (including Madonna) in the club and art scene that flourished in the ’80s.

In order to repay the hospitality and care that friends bestowed on him, Basquiat would often swap or leave a piece of his artwork for them. The works themselves are interesting, but even more so is the way that these creations were protected and cherished for so many years.

In 1979, Jane Diaz, was an art student and worked as a waitress in the East Village. She met Basquiat when he was spraying graffiti on the sidewalk. They struck up a conversation, he followed her home and stayed for about a week, leaving behind a bunch of drawings, including a self-portrait that was labeled Little Monkey,  just one of the works that have been brought together for an exhibit called Our Friend Jean at the Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn, which is currently on display and will run through the end of the month.

Keith Haring

While Jean-Michel Basquiat was spray painting the walls and sidewalks of New York, Keith Haring was drawing in the subways.

Both artists got recognition from the other underground  artists and the group of people who frequented Club 57 and the other venues that were distanced from the mainstream art world of high-end galleries and museums.

Haring was sometimes arrested for drawing on blank subway advertising sites. The up-side of his subway graffiti was the number of New Yorkers who were able to watch him work and see the art that he so skillfully created.

Deceptively simple in style, Haring’s work was cutting cultural commentary on issues including AIDS, drug addiction, sex, and apartheid. His work, like Basquiat’s, crossed the line from low art to high art and both artists had their works shown in major galleries and museums.

Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at age 27, just two years before Haring died of AIDS at age 30.

They enjoyed a close friendship. When Basquiat died, Haring created a painting called Piles of Crowns as a memorial, using the symbolic crown that often appeared in Basquiat’s work.  For his friend’s obituary, Haring wrote, “The supreme poet. Every action is symbolic, every gesture an event… Greedily we wonder what masterpieces we might have been cheated out of by his death… only now will people begin to understand the magnitude of his contribution.”

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring are being shown at an exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Called Keith Haring/Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines, the exhibit will run through April 11, 2020.

The Works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flexible, Keith Haring’s Chocolate Buddha #3 or any of the other fine art works available at VFA.

References:
Lindy Percival. Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat: art stars who shone too briefly. The Sydney Morning Herald. November 22, 2019.
Robert Becker. Remembering Basquiat Through the Keepsakes He Gave Intimates. Hyperallergic. February 20, 2020.
Meg Watson. ‘We were all a little bit punk’: Haring, Basquiat and the art that defined 80s New York. The Guardian. February 23, 2020.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Downtown

“Believe it or not, I can actually draw.”Jean-Michel Basquiat Signature

Despite his brief career and a life cut short by a heroin overdose, the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat has influenced the trajectory of modern art, music and culture. Just last week, Basquiat’s 1982 painting, Four Big, sold for $10.6 million. The painting, which is made up of three joined canvases, was the top seller at Christie’s London Contemporary Art sale.

In 2017, another 1982 Basquiat painting, Untitled, sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s. Art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and a Basquiat expert said, “He’s now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso.”

Downtown 81

In 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat was homeless. Glenn O’Brien, who wrote for and edited Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, put together a script for a film that he wanted to use to showcase the New York music scene that he had been writing about. He created a fairy tale, starring Basquiat, who played a homeless artist who travels around the city trying to sell his paintings.

Basquiat slept and worked in the production office during most of the shooting of the film. The production crew bought Basquiat canvas and paints to work on during the filming. The paintings that appear in the movie, belonging to Basquiat’s character, are by Basquiat himself, and are among his earliest works.

After a year of filming, the producers ran out of money and the project was abandoned in the beginning of 1981. Originally titled  New York Beat Movie, O’Brien acquired the rights to the film in 1999, changed the title to Downtown 81 and released it at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. The film will be shown at the Metograph in Manhattan on October 25th, before it goes into wide release.

Basquiat’s Work at the Tampa Museum of Art

Jean-Michel Basquiat: One Master Artist / Two Masterpieces is the title of just one part of the current exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art. Two of Basquiat’s large collages are part of the current exhibit, Ordinary/Extraordinary: Assemblage in Three Acts. Also on display are works by artist Purvis Young, whose collages reflect his life in Overtown, Miami and a collection of 20th- and 21st-century Haitian Vodou flags, handcrafted from found objects. Although each exhibit stands alone, together they each reflect the African-Carribean-American experience.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat will be on display through November 20, 2019. The works of Purvis Young and the Haitian Vodou flags will be on exhibit through January 26, 2020.

The Work of Jean-Michele Basquiat at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Flexible or any of the other fine art work at VFA.

See More Jean-Michel Basquiat for Sale

References:
Justin Curto. Jean-Michel Basquiat Film Downtown 81 Is Returning to Theaters. Vulture. October 4, 2019.
Annie Armstrong. Led by $10.6 M. Basquiat, Christie’s Contemporary Sale in London Brings in $80.4 M. ARTnews. October 4, 2019.
Maggie Duffy. Basquiat works, Haitian flags stun at the Tampa Museum of Art. Tampa Bay Times. September 26, 2019.
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