At the end of the ’70s, as New York City’s Soho transformed from an ethnic factory district to the art hub of the elite, the graffiti collective SAMO© — made up of an anonymous teenage Jean-Michel Basquiat, his high school friend/graff veteran Al Diaz, and artist Shannon Dawson — began its contrarian poeticisms. Basquiat was the driving force. SAMO© was “the drug,” the abstract, sarcastic, witty, site-specific prose poetry exhibit via vandalism, a “spiritual salvation” from the “so-called avant-garde had become a formidable, lucrative, orthodox institution,” as photographer Henry Flynt explains in his thorough essay. Documenting the tags in 1979, Flynt could not predict Basquiat’s eventual fame, yet, he understood the right way to photograph “the experience” of reading SAMO© — not just capturing the truncated text element, but its urban placement in full color. Spotted by The World’s Best Ever, check out these authenticated vintage shots in our gallery. … Read More
These are not just pictures on a wall. These are not some set pieces in the corner. There are certain artworks in film that are as vital as its characters. Of course, it helps when a character happens to bludgeon someone to death with a certain rude-shaped sculpture or a painting casts an evil spell of eternal youth on a heartless protagonist. Whether it’s famous artists creating work for fictional ones or directors commissioning well-crafted fakes to take the place of what they can’t acquire, most of these memorable artworks come with a little background story. Here are ten (mostly) great films and the tales of origin behind their most central art pieces. … Read More
Remember the art thief who pocketed a Picasso drawing and escaped via taxi? Well, it turns out there’s more to one-time sommelier Mark Lugo’s story. The Bay Citizen reports that he collected 11 works, worth half a million dollars, stolen from New York hotels and galleries and was enjoying them privately… Read More
Young-faced John Waters, precociously festive Brooke Shields, wild-eyed Salvador Dali and Tennessee Williams guffawing at Studio 54 — Croatian-born artist/filmmaker/photographer Anton Perich captured some of 20th century’s most talked about icons at their most hardiest of party moments, first as a busboy at the legendary Max’s Kansas City, then as a contributing photographer to Warhol’s Interview magazine. Recruiting some of Andy’s Superstars for his own films, Perich was the Grace Jones haircut to Nico’s Chelsea Girls bang trim. Perich also pioneered digital art with the invention of a pre-inkjet printer electric panting machine, but for those still happily bogged down by the mythology of those bygone years, never mind. Let’s souse in these celebrity snippets of mostly ’70s, partially NSFW party life. … Read More
Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer travel season, and while some of us may prefer to travel by car, others are currently printing out boarding passes and heading to the airport for a exciting journey to an exotic place. Since summer invites the discovery of cultural capitals and exploration of distant sites, we’ve assembled a lively mix of art about airplanes — ranging from Andy Warhol’s painting of a newspaper headline of a plane crash in France and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s expressionistic canvas of a plane flying over a city skyline to Hiraki Sawa’s video still of miniature jets flying around his apartment and Tom Sachs’ DIY reconstruction of a complete airplane lavatory — to help you overcome any possible fears of flying and to get you planning where the next walk through airport security will take you. Enjoy! … Read More
We’ve seen quite a bit of recycled MetroCard art recently, from the Metrobench to an entire show of cards transformed into tiny paintings. But we are especially fond of Guatemalan-born, New York-based artist Juan Carlos Pinto’s beautifully detailed MetroCard mosaics, which include portraits of cultural icons including Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, and many more. And, although subway-card art is certainly trendy, there is a purpose behind Pinto’s use of the medium: repurposing materials that would otherwise be garbage supports his commitment to environmentalism. Check out a gallery of Pinto’s celebrity images after the jump, and visit his website to see more of the artist’s work. If you’re in New York, you can see Pinto’s work in person tomorrow night, April 28. … Read More
From a strange, sexy, mechanical shrine that occupied Marcel Duchamp for the last two decades of his life to Vincent van Gogh’s and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s disputed paintings — final works of famous artists are always something of a curiosity. What were their near-death obsessions? What was that artist’s last artistic hurrah? From a loving tribute to Stalin to the act of dying itself, find the controversial, surprising and affirming end chapter pieces from art history’s heroes in our gallery. … Read More
In many cases, a visual artist’s fashion choices can’t hold a candle to his or her work. The word boring comes to mind. But for others, clothing becomes an extension of the canvas, a way to convey their aesthetic to the world outside of a gallery’s walls. In recent times, there are those few who have become almost as recognizable for their stylistic sensibilities as for their artistic skills. After the jump, check out ten great artists with equally distinctive personal styles. … Read More
Christopher Walken played him in the movie Basquiat, but the creative life of Marc H. Miller transcends that singular moment via his website, 98 Bowery.
Landing a loft on NYC’s infamous Bowery in the late ’60s, Miller blossomed as an artist, curator, journalist, and publisher. After organizing the very first punk art exhibition in 1978, he migrated to Amsterdam and shot Polaroid portraits in the red-light district, before returning to the Bowery to make videos about artists, write a column for the East Village Eye, and organize museum shows — a lifestyle that’s now amusingly and thoroughly documented online. … Read More
Chronicling the rapid rise and fall of celebrated painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tamra Davis’ compelling documentary moves to a spirited soundtrack by Beastie Boys Mike D and Ad Rock.
Using early film footage that she shot of her artist friend as a point of departure, Davis interviews art-world players who knew the troubled Basquiat from the time he was tagging the streets and putting his first marks on canvas through his days collaborating with Andy Warhol and his untimely death at 27. … Read More