Jean-Michel Basquiat: Art and Objecthood is the new exhibition at Nahmad Contemporary exploring the artist’s connection with found objects and unconventional materials. “The first paintings I made were on windows I found on the street,” he explained in a 1985 interview. “And I used the window shape as a frame, and I just put the painting on the glass part and on doors I found on the street.”
Taking its title from the 1967 essay by renowned modern art historian Michael Fried, the show reconsiders Basquiat’s work in relation to ideas of art and objecthood – a debate that was very lively at the time and pertinent to the pop art movement and artists such as Andy Warhol, who would later become one of Basquiat’s close friends and collaborators.
A statement from the gallery elaborates: “This exhibition demonstrates the extent to which Basquiat’s sculptural practice and particular use of objects reveal his intense dedication to the struggle against social inequality, as well as his profound engagement with the politics of race in the United States. His universal system of communication – and the collective struggle against ignorance, fear, and silence portrayed by it – are more relevant today than ever.”