Jean-Michel Basquiat

On view through this coming Saturday, June 11 at Nahmad Contemporary is “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Art and Objecthood.” Curated by Basquiat scholar Dr. Dieter Buchhart, it is the first exhibition dedicated solely to the artist’s use of found objects and unconventional materials in his works. The image pictured above was fashioned in 1985 with acrylic, spray paint, oilstick, hardware and twine on found wood. Several more images captured on my recent visit to the gallery follow:

Untitled, 1985, Oil and oilstick on wood

Untitled (1960 Yellow Door), 1985, Oil, oilstick, Xerox collage and metal on wood door

Self-Portrait, 1985, Acrylic, oilstick and bottle caps on wood

Multiflavor, 1982, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas mounted on upcycled wood

Procession, 1986, Acrylic and wood relief on wood

Located at 980 Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Nahmad Contemporary is open Monday – Saturday
10AM – 6PM.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky


Featuring dozens of works in a range of media by the late legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat, along with artworks by several of his key contemporaries, “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” continues at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts through July 25. The image featured above, “Hollywood Africans,” fashioned in 1983 by Basquiat with acrylic and oilstick on canvas, portrays the artist, Rammellzee and Toxic, as it documents the time the three artists spent together in Los Angeles.  Several more of the exhibition’s highlights — as seen on my recent visit –follow:

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anthony Clarke (aka A-One), 1985, Acrylic, oil and collage on wood

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ero, 1984, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper

The late multi-media artist and hip-hop pioneer Rammellzee, Super Robber, 1985, Mixed media on canvas

NYC graffiti pioneer and acclaimed fine artist Futura, Untitled, 1982, Spray paint and marker on paper

Keith Haring and LA2 collaboration, Suit for Madonna, 1984 Acrylic on leather

Legendary graffiti pioneer Lady Pink and neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer collaboration, Tear Ducts Seem to Be a Grief Provision, 1983-84, Spray paint on canvas

A tribute to those who “fueled new directions in fine art, design, and music, driving the now-global popularity of hip-hop culture,”  “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation”  is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue produced by MFA Publications and edited by co-curators Liz Munsell, the MFA’s Lorraine and Alan Bressler Curator of Contemporary Art, and Greg Tate.

Photos of artworks: Lois Stavsky


The first exhibition ever dedicated to the legendary Basquiat‘s Xerox’s works, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox, continues through this coming Friday, May 31, at Nahmad Contemporary on the Upper East Side. Curated by Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart, who had also curated Basquiat’s recent exhibition at the Brant Foundation, Xerox presents over 20 of Basquiat’s key Xerox works from 1981 to 1987, many shown publicly here for the first time. Featured above is King of the Zulus, fashioned with acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper mounted on canvas. Several more images from this significant exhibition follow:

Untitled, Acrylic and Xerox collage on wood, 1981

Peter and the Wolf, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1985

Brother’s Sausage, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1983

Natchez, Acrylic, oil, wood and Xerox collage, 1985

Red Joy, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox, 1984

Wide view, segment of installation

Nahmad Contemporary is located at 980 Madison Avenue, off 76th Street, on the Upper East Side and is open Monday – Saturday, 10AM – 6PM.

Photo credits: 1 Courtesy Nahmad Contemporary 2-6 Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Inaugurating its New York space with a sprawling, hugely impressive exhibition of a broad range of works by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brant Foundation has brought the spirit of the legendary artist back to the East Village. Curated by Brant Foundation founder Peter M. Brant with Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart and organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the exhibition, itself, is a cause for celebration. The image featured above, “Untitled,” was fashioned by the artist in 1981 with acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on wood, A few more images featuring Basquiat’s raw and largely irreverent aesthetic, captured at this splendid exhibition, follow:

Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown), Acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas, 1983

Big ShoesAcrylic, oilstick and collage on canvas, 1983

Hollywood Africans, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1983

Irony of a Negro Policeman, Acrylic and lipstick on wood, 1981

Arroz con Pollo, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1981

Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, Acrylic on canvas, 1982

The exhibition continues at the Brant Foundation, 421 East Sixth Street, through May 15. Although admission is free, reservations are necessary.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Among the diverse works on display in Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s at the Whitney Museum are several by artists whose contributions to the graffiti and street art movement have been monumental. Pictured above is LNAPRK by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Here are several more:

Keith Haring, Untitled, Fiber-tipped pen on synthetic leather


 Martin Wong, Closed, Acrylic on canvas; the artist’s extensive graffiti collection was the subject of City as Canvas at the Museum of the City of  New York in 2014


Kenny Scharf, When the Worlds Collide, Oil and spray paint on canvas against wallpaper adapted from Keith Haring mural at the Pop Shop


Kenny Scharf, close-up 


Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s continues through May 14 at the Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District. Check here for hours. Admission is Pay-What-You-Wish on Friday’s, 7-10 pm.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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On exhibit through June 13 at Acquavella Galleries on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is an exhibit of 22 works on paper and two paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. From the collection of Herbert and Lenore Schorr, who recognized and valued Basquiat’s talents early on, many of these have never been exhibited before. Here’s a sampling:

Untitled, acrylic marker, paper collage, oil paintstick, and crayon on paper, 1981


Untitled, oil painstick on paper, 1981


Portrait of Herb and Lenore, acrylic on paper, 1983


Untitled, acrylic and oil paintstick on paper, 1982


Untitled, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 1985


Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Work from the Schorr Family Collection was curated by Fred Hoffman who co-curated Basquiat’s 2005 retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. None of the artworks in the exhibit are for sale. “It is strictly educational,” Lenore Schorr is quoted as saying earlier this year in the New York Times.  Acquavella Galleries is located at 18 East 79th Street.

Photos of images by Dani Reyes Mozeson;  all images The Schorr Family Colletion © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, New York 2014. 


Veteran NYC graffiti writer Al Diaz will be a featured artist this Sunday, June 16th, in the exciting Writing On It All project at Governors Island. We recently met up with Al who spoke about his early years as a graff writer on the Lower East Side and his text-based graffiti, rooted in his early collaborations with the legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat.


When and where did you start getting up?

Back in 1972 on the LES. I was 13. I hit mostly trains and trucks back then.

What was your tag at the time?


Is that because you were bombing lots?

No. That term didn’t even exist at the time. My friends gave me that name because I used to panic and blow-up.

 The Sedate - SAMO© is Dead

What inspired you to get up back then?

My cousin was close-friends with Snake 1. And we spent a lot of time with him and other writers up at the Writers Corner 188 in the Heights.

Do you have a formal art education? 

As a kid, I took painting and drawing classes, and I went to the High School of Art and Design.

Have you ever been arrested for graffiti?

Once they picked me up and held me over night in Coney Island.  But, no, I was never arrested for graffiti.

Samo-As-a- Conglomerate- of Dormant-Genious...

Have you any early graff-related memories that stand out?

I remember when a truck driver caught me writing on a truck and beat the hell out of me, mangling my wire-framed glasses. It was probably not even his truck.

How did your family feel about what you were doing?

They hated it. Back then we were considered juvenile delinquents.

Samo-As-an -End-2-Amos-'N-Andy 1984...

How did you transition into the word-play that you do today?

In 1977, I became friends with Basquiat. We met at City-as-School.  I introduced him to writing on walls. We came up with the term SAMO (Same Old Shit). That was the beginning. What Basquiat and I did was soon picked up by the SoHo Weekly News and the Village Voice.

Any thoughts about Jean Michel Basquiat’s commercial success?

That’s the art market. It is what it is.

How do you feel about the movement of street art and graffiti into galleries?

Why not? I’m too old to be idealistic.


Who were some of your influences?

Jackson Pollock. I love his manic energy. Picasso, Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits.

Tell us something about what you are doing now.

In 2008, I started pulling WET PAINT signs off the subways, cutting them up and making anagrams from its letters. At first I did it just to entertain myself. But the project continued to evolve and three years later, in 2011, I began posting these redesigned, recycled signs back on the walls in the train stations.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

I’ve always loved words and language, and I’m continually becoming more adventurous in my wordplay. I now have a list of almost a thousand words made from WET PAINT!


What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

I see my art as social commentary. The masses are generally asleep. It is the responsibility of the artist to wake them up.

You can register here to participate in Al Diaz’s WET PAINT project this Sunday from 12-3pm in the interior of an early 20th century house that had served as senior officer housing when Governors Island was a military base.

All photos courtesy of the artist

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