Members receive 10% off all purchases. Join today. Curbside Pickup now available. Learn more.

Basquiat's "Defacement": The Untold Story

(No reviews yet)

Police brutality, racism, graffiti and the art world of the  early-1980s Lower East Side converge in one painting by Jean-Michel  Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat painted Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)  on the wall of Keith Haring’s studio in 1983 to commemorate the death  of a young black artist who died from injuries sustained while in police  custody after being arrested for allegedly tagging a New York City  subway station. Defacement is the starting point for the present volume, which focuses on Basquiat’s response to anti-black racism and police brutality. Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story  explores this chapter in the artist’s career through both the lens of  his identity and the Lower East Side as a nexus of activism in the early  1980s, an era marked by the rise of the art market, the AIDS crisis and  ongoing racial tensions in the city.

Texts by Chaédria  LaBouvier, Nancy Spector, J. Faith Almiron and Greg Tate are  supplemented by commentary from artists and activists such as Luc Sante,  Carlo McCormick, Jeffrey Deitch, Kenny Scharf, Fred Braithwaite and  Michelle Shocked, who were part of this episode in New York City’s  history, which parallels today’s urgent conversations about  state-sanctioned racism. Basquiat’s painting is contextualized by  ephemera related to Stewart’s death, including newspaper clippings and  protest posters, samples of artwork from Stewart’s estate and work made  by other artists in response to Stewart’s death and the subsequent  trial, including pieces by Haring, Andy Warhol, David Hammons, George  Condo and Lyle Ashton Harris


  • Paperback :  168 pages 
  • Product Dimensions :  6.25 x 0.5 x 9.25 inches 
  • Publisher :  Guggenheim Museum (July 23, 2019)