Basquiat's 'Tuxedo' Among Art Basel Highlights
22 September 2021
Basquiat's 'Tuxedo' Among Art Basel Highlights 1
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tuxedo (1982). Photo: Simon Fisher.
Basquiat's 'Tuxedo' Among Art Basel Highlights 2
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tuxedo (1982). Photo: Simon Fisher.

This large-scale silkscreen work Tuxedo (1982) is a favourite of Simon Fisher's from Art Basel's opening day, showing with Van de Weghe Fine Art.

One of nine silkscreens remaining from Jean-Michel Basquiat's iconic 'Tuxedo' series, this work is particularly cool when read in the context of the 1980s New York art scene. ⁠⁠

Having been asked to present a work in the New York gallerist Tony Shafrazi's 1983 exhibition Champions, Basquiat's submission of Tuxedo was swiftly rejected in the expectation that he was going to exhibit a painting.

In response, Basquiat hand-painted marks straight onto the silkscreen. His subsequent acceptance into the exhibition with this 'painting' not only placed his work at an important point in history—being the first survey of an emerging generation of artists/street artists in an established New York gallery—but also marked his unique voice in downtown hip-hop culture in the early 1980s. ⁠⁠


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