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Riding on death

Jean-Michel Basquiat • Painting, 1988, 249×289.5 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Mythological scene
Style of art: Neo-expressionism
Technique: Acrylic, Colored chalk
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1988
Size: 249×289.5 cm
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 37 selections

Description of the artwork «Riding on death»

In February 1987, during simple operations died Andy Warhol. For Jean-Michel Basquiat, this was the most serious blow of his life. Warhol was his mentor, teacher or guru. He helped the young protégé to enter the world of American art, introduced him to many influential and interesting people. Provided him with housing and gave me the opportunity to write without restrictions. In the end, was just talking to Jean-Michel about everything, starting with stories from his childhood and ending with philosophy.

We can say that this strange friendship was beneficial to both. Warhol was fuelled by the irrepressible energy of Basquiat, because by the time they met he was almost out of steam as the artist, the audience had little interest in his work. Although Basquiat here, in General, there was little to change: their exhibition of the joint work were greeted with a very cool audience. But, at least, next to it is Warhol at least occasionally could feel young.

When Warhol died, Basquiat had a ball. He almost stopped writing, stopped a lot of contacts, long gone (locking in his home Studio, and even leaving the country) and constantly pumped drugs. Sometimes he would awake in the middle of the street, trying to figure out who and where he is. One day in a drugged delirium he is in my pajamas broke into the house of his former passion. At some point came clearance: Basquiat, the subject of a rehabilitation program, "broke" himself, he left new York. Then he began to write again. In one of the last days of his life the artist created the picture "Riding death".

"Speedball" - a mixture of cocaine and heroin that killed Basque, is famous for the fact that "burns" all the negative emotions, leaving a buzz in its purest form. Surely, under the influence of the couple Basquiat could find yourself capable of anything, even to the death ride. Character of his painting, apparently, depicts the artist himself. His hands held tightly to the body, while "phantom" limbs fly freely. Schematically drawn skeleton representing death, seems to be completely obedient to the rider, but in the empty eye sockets of the skull clearly read the threat. It is possible that this minimalist work was a kind of suicide note Basquiat, who understood that the man riding a death, there is only one way.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov