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Warhol & Basquiat on exhibit

Many would argue that one of the most interesting artist partnerships of the 20th century was that of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Arken Museum of Modern Art currently gives you a chance to explore the colorful collaborations of the dynamic duo.

Warhol & Basquiat on exhibit

As far as his standing in the art milieu is concerned, the early 1980ies marked a low in the otherwise glorious career of American icon Andy Warhol, with art critics becoming increasingly bored with the somewhat stagnant development of the pop artist. However, a range of collaborations with the young up-and-coming artists of the New York underground scene brought Warhol back to the center stage, and retrospectively, his work with New York-born expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat in particular was to leave an emphatic mark on American art history.




Basquiat –who was introduced to Warhol by the latter’s Europe art dealer, Bruno Bischofberger – challenged, inspired, and provoked Warhol with his spontaneous and straightforward style that among other things took inspiration from African-American culture, and jazz music in particular. With Basquiat’s style that equally contrasts and supplements the work of Andy Warhol, their joint work creates an expression that at the times of its conception caused accusations against Warhol of sponging off the obvious talent of Basquiat, but today stands as an attestation of a dynamic decade in the New York art scene.


Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat, Arm and Hammer II


Now, more than 25 years after the collaborations took place, the work of Warhol and Basquiat can be experienced on Danish soil for the first time. Thus one of the absolute top museums in Denmark, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, is currently celebratingthe spectacular partnership with an exhibition displaying a selection of 14 of the more than 130 paintings, drawings and photographs created from 1983 through 1985 by Basquiat and Warhol. Visitors can also admire a host of their respective, individual works from around the same period. The exhibition – organized by curator Dieter Buchart in close collaboration with ARKEN – gives abalanced and intriguing tour of the work and counter-inspirational effects of the most talked about duo in art of the 1980’s (maybe even of all time), and serves as a very tangible proof that the work of Basquiat and Warhol has outlived their critical contemporaries.




The exhibition has generally received flattering reviews in the Danish press, and in addition to the afore mentioned, it also features a few pieces of work from the early days of the Warhol/Basquiat collaboration, when the duo was actually still a trio, with Italian painter Francesco Clemente also contributing. Furthermore two documentaries run on air: “The Radiant Child” – a Tamra Davis film about Jean-Michel Basquiat – and the 1990 Chuck Workman documentary “Superstar:The Life and Times of Andy Warhol”. Warhol & Basquiat is a celebration of two of the mostdefining artists of modern times and for that reason alone an afternoon at ARKEN in the company of New York’s finest would be some well spent time.

19 / 06 / 2012 // by Soren Romer


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