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.