In 2018, the Fondation Louis Vuitton presented the “Jean-Michel Basquiat” exhibition, a great success that attracted around 700,000 visitors. In 2023, until August 28, the Fondation will continue to narrate the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, this time revealing his collaboration with Andy Warhol.
Between 1984 and 1985, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987) made approximately 160 paintings in tandem, “à quatre mains”, including some of the largest works produced during their respective careers . Keith Haring (1958-1990), witness of their friendship and collaboration, will speak of a “conversation that takes place through painting, rather than with words” and of two minds that merge to create a “distinctive and unique third mind”.
In spring 2023, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, “Basquiat x Warhol. Painting 4 Hands” will be the most important exhibition ever dedicated to this extraordinary body of work. Curated by Dieter Buchhart and Anna Karina Hofbauer, in collaboration with Olivier Michelon, curator of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the exhibition will bring together over three hundred works and documents, including eighty canvases signed jointly by the two artists. Individual works by each of them and a series of works by other important artists (Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Kenny Scharf, Michael Halsband…) will also be exhibited to evoke the energy of the New York art scene of the 1980s.
The exhibition will be further enriched and interspersed with photographs, including Michael Halsband’s famous series of “Boxing Gloves” photographs made for the 1985 Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol exhibition poster. The exhibition will open with a series of portraits of Basquiat made by Warhol and Warhol made by Basquiat. It will continue with the first collaborations. These works, begun by the two artists’ dealer, Bruno Bischofberger, benefited from a collaboration with the Italian artist Francesco Clemente (b. 1952). After completing these fifteen paintings together with Clemente, Basquiat and Warhol continued their collaboration almost daily, with enthusiasm and complicity. The energy and strength of their incessant exchanges are the driving force of the exhibition, which will feature works such as Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper) or the African Mask canvas, 10 meters high.
Basquiat admired Warhol as a master, a key figure in the art world and the pioneer of a new language and innovative relationship with pop culture. Warhol, in turn, found in Basquiat a renewed interest in painting. Thanks to him, he returned to painting by hand on a very large scale. Warhol’s subjects (newspapers, logos of General Electric, Paramount and the Olympic Games) are the basis of a whole series of works that will punctuate the exhibition.
“Andy would start a painting and put something very recognizable on it, or a product logo, and I would deface it. Then I would try to get him to work on it some more, I would try to make him do at least two things,” Basquiat said. “I used to draw and then paint like Jean-Michel. I think the paintings we do together are better when you can’t tell who did what parts,” Warhol observed.
The exhibition will exhibit these back-and-forths, a dialogue of styles and forms that also addresses crucial issues such as the integration of the African-American community into the narrative of North America, a continent where Warhol was one of the main producers of icons.