Nov 12, 2014 - Sale 2365

Sale 2365 - Lot 214

Price Realized: $ 9,100
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 7,000 - $ 10,000
Graffiti Jacket.

Permanent marker on white Scully leather jacket, size 42, early-mid 1980s. 950x455 mm; 37 3/8x17 7/8 inches.

A leather jacket tagged by various 1980s graffiti artists including Basquiat (1960-1988). These artists frequented the popular four-floor, after-hours New York club Danceteria. Between floors, one of the elevator operators, Joy, commemorated by "Joystick" on the jacket's verso, invited celebrity guests and artists to tag her jacket. In addition to Basquiat, who was a regular attendee, frequent patrons included Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. Madonna also performed at Danceteria in her early days.

The owner of this jacket, a stage manager and lighting director at the club from 1981-1986, provided it to the elevator operator, a friend, as a blank canvas for her high-profile friends and guests to decorate as she worked. Basquiat's contributions include corresponding female anatomical references: "breast," "tity," [sic],"corset" etc. Another notable tag is the mirror-image "Serenity Prayer," lower verso and lapel, by fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse (1953-2004). Additional inscriptions on the jacket are attributed to the street artists known as Jep 2, Stash and Energy.

This current item is a relic of the heady days of the 1980s New York City underground art scene.

Basquiat dove into his short but colorfully prolific career as a graffiti artist at the end of his troubled teen years, having dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and been banished from his Brooklyn family home, with spray-painted designs on buildings in lower Manhattan tagged with the pseudonym SAMO. He came to the more widespread attention of the art world after participating in The Times Square Show in June 1980 and joined the Annina Nosei gallery in SoHoin 1981. Basquiat had a friendship with and was extraordinarily influenced by Andy Warhol during the 1980s. When Warhol died unexpectedly on February 22, 1987, Basquiat's heroin addiction became more acute and he settled into a severe depression, ultimately dying from a drug overdose at his Great Jones Street,New York, studio at the age of 27.