Madonna licking Jean-Michel Basquiat’s leg in the back of his limo, 1983.
Madonna photographed by Richard Corman
in Alphabet City, 1982.
Keith Haring installing his mural at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis on March 15, 1984
Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Louis Jammes in Paris, 1988.
Keith Haring painting an outdoor mural with school children in Phoenix, Arizona, 1986.
Photos by Tseng Kwong Chi
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna while they were dating, 1983.
Photo by Maripol
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Rammellzee
on Santa Monica Blvd after exiting Maxfields in Los Angeles, 1982.
Photos by Stephen Torton
Madonna, a former lover of Jean-Michel Basquiat tells her story
I am not sure if I met Jean-Michel in an art gallery or a night-club, but in those days you couldn’t tell the difference.
He had the presence of a movie star and I was crazy about him. He carried crumpled wads of money in the pockets of his paint-splattered Armani suits. Money he felt guilty about having. Money he always gave away to less fortunate friends.
I remember Jean-Michel’s tag – Samo- which was accompanied with a little crown and I remember thinking he was a genius. He was. But he wasn’t very comfortable with it.
I remember all the girls were in love with him and one night I looked out of his loft window and saw a girl whose heart he had broken, burning his paintings in a big bonfire. I wanted to stop her and rescue his paintings, but he didn’t seem to mind. He said it was their fate.
I remember him getting up at 3am and sleep-walking to an empty canvas. He stood inches away from it and proceeded to paint the most minuscule figures and what he did was so beautiful and intellectual and I stood watching him with dumbfounded amazement
He was one of the people I was truly envious of. But he didn’t know how good he was and was plagued with insecurities. He used to say he was jealous of me because music is more accessible and it reached more people. He loathed the idea that art was appreciated by an elite group.
When I broke up with him he demanded I give back the paintings he had given me. Not because he didn’t think I deserved them, but because he was obsessed with the idea that I would sell them.
He was so paranoid. Of course, I was heart-broken but complied. Now I couldn’t buy one of his paintings if I wanted to.
When I heard that Jean-Michel had died I was not surprised. He was too fragile for this world.
I remember one summer having dinner with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel at Mr Chow’s and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to have known him. To have known all of them. Now they’re all gone.
Keith Haring painting the National Gallery of Victoria mural in Australia, February 1984.
In 1984 during a three week visit to Australia, New York artist Keith Haring undertook a number of public art events. The artist’s willingness to create a deliberately ephemeral work at the NGV, on glass, accorded with “Haring’s desire to devaluate a presumed superiority of individualistic drawing on paper or canvas over other kinds of cultural artifacts, considering all surface as having equal worth.”
Haring first set up the small ghetto-blaster he carried everywhere, which was decorated by artist Kenny Scharf. John Buckley recalled him at work:
“With his beaut little Kenny Scharf radio that he brought over with him from New York, that was blasting away the whole time. He loved the scissor-lift. He was like a kid with a new toy, because he had never been on a scissor-lift before, and he just had the best fun with that. [Before too long] he was a pro with it; he knew how to manoeuvre it in the finest possible way.”
Haring had been brought to look at the window only a day or two before he began the mural. Without any template or grid-lines he painted proportionally without any hesitation or mistakes.
Haring painting constantly at eye level, not needing to move the cherry picker back to judge how the whole might be coming together. As Haring himself observed at this time:
“One of the things I have been most interested in is the role of chance in situations – letting things happen by themselves. My drawings are never pre-planned. I never sketch a plan for a drawing, even for huge wall murals.”
Haring was also happy to be interrupted at any point, frequently stopping his painting to talk to visiting schoolchildren, sign autographs and quickly sketch souvenir drawings for curious new fans of his work – returning to the mural after each of these intermissions without missing a beat.
Keith Haring photographed by Jeannette Montgomery Barron, 1985.
“This was taken in Keith’s studio on lower Broadway. Every single inch of his walls was covered with drawings. I really didn’t have to do anything – Keith just went through his poses while I snapped the shutter. ”