Hold onto your wallets art world. Today a Basquiat painting sold for $110.5 million at auction.
The sale puts Basquiat in an elite club.
The sale nearly doubled the auction record the artist's work set last year at $57 million.
Only 10 other artists have broken the $100 million mark. Basquiat now holds the record for the highest price of any US artist at auction.
Humbling news for the art world. Humbling news for an artist selling American Flag and Diamond Ring prints on his website.
Long Live the 80s
The work also has the distinction of the most expensive work ever sold that was created post-1980. Madonna, breakdancing, Run DMC, and Basquiat.
Lately I can’t stop thinking of Keith Haring.
But just think of the all-star team Basquiat just took on. Pollock, Rothko, and De Kooning to name a few all-time greats.
Of course money isn’t everything. But the stature of 80s American art taking over the 50s is essential to think about.
There is a parallel here between art, propaganda, and war. The AbExers and post-WW2 holding a bookend to the Cold War. Basquiat and company holds the other end now.
I read a Basquiat bio a few years back and he started seeping into my work. I did a series of works on paper in Key West that then turned into some largescale Acrylic and Oil Stick paintings.
This included pieces like Clooney for a Day, One Degree of Bill dK, and Picking Walt Whitman's Pocket.
Not to mention Bigger Than Hemingway, show above.
Basquiat didn’t just show up in my artwork way back when. He also infiltrated my poetry.
There are at least poems of mine where he appears. One example is Renting Basquiat.
There are the evenings I cannot close one eye, but watch you as you taste and then re-taste, devour insistence till it’s spent like wishes: The exhales
you recollect. A t-shirt scrawl picked up, balled up, and headed for the exit with, a souvenir to be sure might prove yourself alive.
It says: I had sex with Jean-Michel and all I got was this stupid t-shirt. Days later you revise yourself, again. Black marker against the fabric.
I had sex with Jean-Michel and all I got was gonorrhea. You wear it everywhere in Manhattan, share it
with those you’re closest to, the ones who can really follow. Me?
I dream in pictures, you live your life like t-shirt shops, each day a slogan you forget until someone’s staring
at your boobs later in the afternoon.
In night, we’re a set of bedroom sculptures, your shirt cast onto floors, my eyes are never closing. You whisper in your dreams and my words become so slight, it’s no wonder
you cannot hear.
I cannot bear the television distractions as your skin sticks against these sheets,
reminds everyone there’s no clean laundry.
Tomorrows for me are image sets waiting to find the words each of us reimagines, gets up and tries to paint.