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Basquiat and Warhol: Inside Their Unlikely Artistic Collaborations

  • History

It’s one of the most intriguing—and head-scratching—friendships in recent art history. Today, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol are seen as two of the most innovative, influential artists of the late 20th century. Their works sell for tens of millions of dollars, routinely breaking auction records.

But in the early 1980s, they were an art-world mismatch. Basquiat was a smart, scruffy, charismatic graffiti artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent making waves in New York’s edgy downtown art scene. Warhol was a global celebrity and an icon of Pop Art—the 1960s movement that had upended ideas about art by ditching high-culture subjects for everyday stuff like Campbell’s soup cans. Basquiat, barely out of his teens, was just launching. Warhol, in his mid-50s, was seen by some as coasting.