The Odd Couple: Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, 1986

Dur­ing his short life­time, Jean-Michel Basquiat made a big impres­sion on the art world. As the teenage son of a Hait­ian father and Puer­to Rican-Amer­i­can moth­er, he began spray-paint­ing graf­fi­ti on walls in Low­er Man­hat­tan in the late 1970s, and with­in a few years he emerged as a lead­ing expo­nent of the Neo-Expres­sion­ism Move­ment that flour­ished in the 1980s.

When Basquiat was 19 he met the Pop artist Andy Warhol, and the two men formed a close con­nec­tion. In Vic­tor Bock­ris’s Warhol: A Biog­ra­phy, long-time Warhol assis­tant Ron­ny Cutrone describes the rela­tion­ship:

It was like some crazy art-world mar­riage and they were the odd cou­ple. The rela­tion­ship was sym­bi­ot­ic. Jean-Michel thought he need­ed Andy’s fame, and Andy thought he need­ed Jean-Michel’s new blood. Jean-Michel gave Andy a rebel­lious image again.

In this scene from the British doc­u­men­tary series, State of the Art, we catch a glimpse of the two togeth­er in 1986, just a year before Warhol’s untime­ly death due to com­pli­ca­tions from surgery, and two year’s before Basqui­et died of an over­dose of hero­in. He was only 27 years old.

Note: If you have prob­lems hear­ing the sound, please turn your com­put­er speak­ers up, and make sure the vol­ume bar in the YouTube video (low­er left) is cranked up.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Vin­tage Footage of Picas­so and Jack­son Pol­lock Paint­ing … Through Glass

via @JesseBDylan

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