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Art

Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story

Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story June 26, 2019
Guild Magazine

Guild Magazine is designed to serve as a reliable and trusted voice for professionals and up-and-comers in the fields of photography, fashion, arts, travel, and food. A no-boundaries platform for individuals not afraid to push the limits of their expertise, while setting new standards in their professions, and art.

Guild Magazine Basquiat_LaHara

Editor: Jose Morales

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart) 1983 Project code: BAS07299 25 x 30 1/2 inches (63.5 x 77.5 cm) Acrylic and marker on wood, framed Collection of Nina Clemente, New York

New York City, NY – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is currently holding a thematic exhibition of work by the critically acclaimed artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988). The exhibition, which is also supplemented with work by some of his contemporaries, examines the development of Basquiat’s career through the lens of his identity, and his role during the cultural activism movement that took place in New York City during the early 1980s.

‘Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story,’ is organized by the guest curator, Chaédria LaBouvier, and is being held from June 21 to November 6, 2019. Approximately twenty paintings, prints, and essays by Basquiat and fellow artists compose the exhibition, with its starting point being ‘The Death of Michael Stewart.’ Created by Basquiat in 1983, it memorializes the fate of the young, black artist at the hands of New York City transit police. Originally painted on one of the walls of Keith Haring’s studio, it has seldom been exhibited to the public eye.

The presentation of this work aims to examine Basquiat’s exploration of black identity, and his efforts to create a language of empowerment while protesting police brutality. His aim to craft a unique aesthetic to express empowerment is manifested in his work with the use of crowns. These crowns being a symbol for the canonization of historical black figures.

Archival materials in the exhibition related to Stewart’s passing include prints and paintings made by other artists in response to his loss, the criminal trial that followed, and the prosecution that saw the police officers involved in the case charged in the death of the young artist. The work exhibited is a testimonial to the spirit of solidarity amongst the community of artists at the time of Stwart’s death, and the years of cultural activism that followed. Years that also became the stage to the rise of the art market, the AIDS crisis, and persistent racial tension in New York City. – GM

Guild Magazine Basquiat_Untitled-Sheriff
Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled (Sheriff), 1981 Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 130.8 x 188 cm Carl Hirschmann Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
Jean-Michel Basquiat Back of the Neck, 1983 Screenprint with hand-coloring on paper, 127.6 x 259.1 cm Edition 1/24 Brooklyn Museum, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat Charles the First, 1982 Acrylic and oil stick on canvas, three panels, 198.1 x 165.1 cm Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
Guild Magazine Basquiat_LaHara
Jean-Michel Basquiat La Hara, 1981 Acrylic and oilstick on wood panel, 182.9 x 121.9 cm Arora Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
Guild MagazineHaring_MichaelStewart_USAforAfrica
Keith Haring Michael Stewart – USA for Africa, 1985 Enamel and acrylic on canvas, 294.6 x 365.8 cm Collection of Monique and Ziad Ghandour © The Keith Haring Foundation
Hammons, David
David Hammons The Man Nobody Killed, 1986 Stenciled paint on commercially printed cardboard with cut-and-taped photocopy from a spiral bound periodical with works by various artists From Eye magazine, no. 14, “Cobalt Myth Mechanics,” 1986 Publisher: Eye Publications, New York, Printer: the artist, New York Each page: 27.9 x 21.6 cm, closed: 27.9 x 22.9 x 1.9 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Henry Church Fund (by exchange), 2015 © The Museum of Modern Art. Licensed by SCALA/ARS New York
Card for Benefit Performance at Danceteria
Card for Benefit Performance at Danceteria, October 3, 1983; supporting exhibition material for Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story on view June 21-November 6, 2019
Card for Benefit Performance at Danceteria
Card for Benefit Performance at Danceteria, October 3, 1983; supporting exhibition material for Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story on view June 21-November 6, 2019
“Remember Michael Stewart…” button; supporting exhibition material for Basquiat’s
“Remember Michael Stewart” button, 1984 Design by Eric Drooker 3.8 x 3.8 x 0.5 cm Collection of Patricia A. Pesce, New York Photo: Allison Chipak © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Images courtesy of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
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Guild Magazine

Guild Magazine is designed to serve as a reliable and trusted voice for professionals and up-and-comers in the fields of photography, fashion, arts, travel, and food. A no-boundaries platform for individuals not afraid to push the limits of their expertise, while setting new standards in their professions, and art.