POST: 'Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat' - everything is not always what it appears to be

What's it about?

A fantasy world where Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat were the best of friends.

What'd I experience?

I am a kid enamored with art, entertainment, and fame. So when I heard that there was a show about the late great Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, my heart exploded! Let’s get into my expectations. I was looking forward to seeing the actors:

  • Impersonate Andy Warhol and Basquiat doing countless amount of painting
  • Andy do his world renowned Campbell’s soup can piece
  • Basquiat and Andy talk about the inspiration behind their signature hairstyles
  • And fashion and how it is sometimes is intertwined with art
  • And their unique art processes
  • AND their love lives
  • AND meeting and collaborating with celebrities
  • Plus, what luxurious things they’ve spent their money on
  • And of course, I wanted to hear them discuss projects that they’ve work on together...

Well… I was in for an entirely different play.

So the play was all about how Warhol and Basquiat plan to do a collaboration piece together that will be featured in a New York City gallery. Day and night they work together. Basquiat worked more than Warhol because Basquiat felt like Warhol didn’t care to create anymore. Watching Basquiat work, I felt like I was in school working on a group project. I’m always the one who takes the initiative to do so much of the work. I don’t know if it’s because I am confident in myself and my abilities to do almost anything, or if it’s because I just don’t want anyone screwing up something that has my name attached to it. Basquiat actually felt like Warhol was only hanging out with him because he was young, hip, and fresh on the scene. At this point and time, Warhol wasn’t as popular as Basquiat. However, I still felt like Warhol's so legendary that you can’t possibly think he was using you. If anything you must be using him... maybe...

Each time they met up they worked harder on their pieces and luckily they got chosen to display their artworks in a SoHo gallery. They were both ecstatic. After the viewing, Basquiat’s pieces got a bad review from the press. He spun out of control and didn’t know how to handle it. He traveled away from Warhol because he said he needed space. Warhol didn’t want him to go because he grew to love him as a son. I was on team Warhol throughout this entire play, and not because his real name is Andrew like mine, but because I felt like we thought the same way. I felt that Basquiat should have stayed and worked through dealing with bad press and learn from Warhol instead of running away and isolating himself from everybody. During their time apart, Warhol went to the hospital and passed away. When Basquiat heard the news he got so emotional. He was worse than how he was when he heard about his negative press. He turned to drugs and overdosed which led to his death.

It just seemed like they could’ve learned so much from each other and there was so much that was left unsaid. There’s nothing more horrible than losing someone with words left unsaid. This play wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but just like art, everything is not always what it appears to be.


Want to see it?

FREE Student Rush

@HERE Arts Center
thru Dec. 22