In 2018, the Louis Vuitton Foundation presented the exhibition “Jean-Michel Basquiat“, which was a great success and attracted around 700,000 visitors. From April 5 to August 28, 2023, the Foundation continues its exploration of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, this time revealing his collaboration with Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat #143 New York City, July 10, 1985 © Michael Halsband, 2022

From 1984 to 1985, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987) collaborated to create around 160 paintings together, in a four-handed fashion, including some of the largest works produced during their respective careers. Keith Haring (1958-1990), who witnessed their friendship and collaboration, spoke of “a conversation that takes place through painting instead of words” and of two minds merging to create a “peculiar and unique third mind.”

In the spring of 2023, the Louis Vuitton Foundation presents “Basquiat x Warhol. Painting 4 Hands,” the most significant exhibition ever dedicated to this extraordinary body of work. Curated by Dieter Buchhart and Anna Karina Hofbauer, in collaboration with Olivier Michelon, curator of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the exhibition brings together over 100 jointly signed paintings by the two artists. Individual works are also presented, as well as a set of works by other important artists (Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Kenny Scharf…) to evoke the energy of the New York City art scene in the 1980s. The exhibition is enriched and interspersed with photographs, including the famous “Boxing gloves” series on boxing gloves by Michael Halsband, which was created for the poster of the Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol exhibition in 1985.

The exhibition opens with a series of portraits of Basquiat painted by Warhol, of Warhol painted by Basquiat, and continues with their early collaborations. These works, initiated by the two artists’ dealer, Bruno Bischofberger, benefited from a collaboration with Italian artist Francesco Clemente (born 1952). After completing these 15 paintings with Clemente, Basquiat and Warhol continued their collaboration almost daily, with great enthusiasm and complicity. The energy and strength of their incessant exchanges are the driving force behind the exhibition, which runs through all the rooms of the Foundation.

Jean-Michel Basquiat et Andy Warhol, OP OP, 1984

Basquiat admired Warhol as an elder statesman, a key personality in the art world and a pioneer of a new language and revolutionary relationship with pop culture. Warhol, in turn, found renewed interest in painting thanks to Basquiat, as he began to paint by hand on a large scale again. Warhol’s themes (such as newspapers or the logos of General Electric, Paramount, and the Olympics) serve as the basis for a whole series of works of art that will make the exhibition shine.

Jean-Michel Basquiat et Andy Warhol, PE D G Two Heads, 1984-1985

Andy would start a painting and put something very recognizable or the logo of a product, and then I would disfigure it. Then I tried to get him to work on it a little more, tried to get him to do at least two things,” explained Basquiat. “First, I drew it, and then I painted it like Jean-Michel. I think the paintings we do together are better when you don’t know who did each part,” said Warhol.

Jean-Michel Basquiat et Andy Warhol, Untitled (collaboration no.23) / Quality, 1984-1985

The exhibition shows this back-and-forth, a dialogue of styles and forms that also addresses crucial issues such as the integration of the African American community into the narrative of North America, a continent where Warhol was one of the main makers of icons.