In a large reinstallation of The Andy Warhol Museum’s fourth-floor gallery, Warhol and Basquiat In Focus: Works from the Permanent Collection presents for the first time the Pittsburgh museum’s near-entire holdings of artworks and ephemera related to Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988), the groundbreaking young painter who became a close friend and collaborator to Warhol in the 1980s. This presentation features photographs, paintings, sculptures, and archival material left behind in Warhol’s studio after his death in 1987, chronicling the short but vibrant friendship and working relationship the artists shared from 1982 to 1986.
The installation showcases the mutual trust, shared inspirations, and political concerns of Warhol and Basquiat’s collaborative works in the 1980s. The display includes Ten Punching Bags (The Last Supper), a monumental sculpture that probes issues of Catholic guilt and the impact of the AIDS epidemic. Untitled Collaboration Sculpture, created with Italian painter Francisco Clemente, references the murder of artist Michael Stewart, police brutality, and America’s history of racial injustice. Also featured are Warhol and Basquiat’s collaborative paintings, which debuted to mixed reviews but reveal the balance they achieved between their disparate styles: Warhol’s advertisement logos and Basquiat’s neo-expressionist strokes and original mark-making. Through this new interpretation of their shared work, the installation reveals that it was, in the end, Basquiat, a young protégée, who gave Warhol’s late career a rebirth.
“This presentation of works, left behind in Warhol’s studio after his death, chronicles the short but meaningful friendship and working relationship that he and Basquiat shared. Through new research, I want to offer visitors a politically engaged understanding of their work together. And to demonstrate that it was Basquiat, a young protégée, who gave Warhol’s late career a rebirth. It was Basquiat, who taught Warhol to paint again,” said Jessica Beck, Milton Fine curator of art.
The installation also speaks to an era of socio-political upheaval and loss in the 1980s, as a dynamic arts community grappled with the early days of the AIDS crisis and unchecked police violence. Forty years later these themes still resonate, mirroring the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and renewed calls for racial justice in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose and so many other Black Americans.
Warhol and Basquiat In Focus: Works from the Permanent Collection is curated by Jessica Beck, Milton Fine curator of art.
Curator’s Insights: Jessica Beck and Franklin Sirmans on Andy Warhol and Jean Michel-Basquiat
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
7 p.m. EDT
On the occasion of the upcoming rotation Warhol and Basquiat in Focus: Works from the Permanent Collection, Jessica Beck, Milton Fine curator of art, interviews, Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami about his longstanding interest, scholarship and curatorial work on Jean Michel-Basquiat. Beck and Sirmans discuss Basquiat’s legacy, the market frenzy around his work, his collaborations with Warhol, and the great influence that Basquiat had over Warhol’s late painting career. The conversation also covers a close look at objects from the rotation with discussion of Warhol and Basquiat’s collaborative work Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper), 1985-1986, and the connections to the death of Michael Stewart and Basquiat’s Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983.
Free; Visit warhol.org
Curator’s Insights: Jessica Beck and Michael Hermann on Andy Warhol and Jean Michel-Basquiat
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
2 p.m. EDT
On the occasion of the upcoming rotation Warhol and Basquiat in Focus: Works from the Permanent Collection, Jessica Beck, Milton Fine curator of art, interviews Michael Hermann about his 2019 book Warhol on Basquiat: The Iconic Relationship Told in Andy Warhol’s Words and Pictures. Beck and Hermann discuss the research and planning that went into production of his publication, sharing the discoveries that came from research in the archives at The Andy Warhol Museum, pouring over Warhol’s contact sheets from Warhol’s late-career and cross-referencing the entries in his Diaries published in 1989. In their conversation, Beck and Hermann also take a close look at Warhol and Basquiat’s collaborative work Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper), 1985-1986, the connections to the death of Michael Stewart and Basquiat’s Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983 and the production of Warhol’s oxidation portrait of Basquiat in 1982.
Free; Visit warhol.org