Basquiat, who died at the age of 27 in 1988, made his mark as a graffiti artist in New York. His playful and introspective designs would eventually fall under the category of neo-expressionism, once he started receiving serious nods as an artist. Her work is a vivid response to colonialism, poverty, and the paradoxes inherent in being black in America. And because Blackness isn’t a monolith, he’s incorporated so many facets of himself: nuances of pop culture, different styles of imaging, Haitian myths, and the Puerto Rican spirit.
“Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of my heroes,” says Stuart Vevers, Creative Director of Coach. “He embodied the creative and inclusive spirit of New York City and was a force for change in his community. I am proud to celebrate his work and values, and to share them with a new generation. And I am honored by the trust. . and support the Basquiat family invested in me, and thank them for their help in creating the collection and this campaign. “
Even today, Basquiat lives in the space between contradiction – wealth and poverty, power and representations of the powerless. GQ points out that the Artestar licensing agent is a long-time partner of the Basquiat estate, which means the artist’s iconography appears on everything from New Era caps to Peloton uniforms.
But Basquiat was particularly sassy about the embodiment of the tension between money and art. In 1985, he posed for the New York Times Magazine, barefoot in a paint-streaked Armani suit. Its whole trajectory tells how finally becoming a person capable of making money, in a system which is fundamentally hostile to you, can be a revolutionary act.
Of course, like any artist who can no longer speak for themselves, people choose what they want from their heritage.