Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story presents an early chapter in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art that continues to resonate today in its potent exploration of social justice. In 1983 he created The Death of Michael Stewart to commemorate the fate of the young, black artist Michael Stewart, who was killed at the hands of New York City’s transit police after allegedly tagging a wall in an East Village subway station. Works by Basquiat’s peers, including Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and George Condo, are also on view and provide testaments to the solidarity experienced among artists at the time.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Death of Michael Stewart, 1983
Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Death of Michael Stewart, 1983
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Back of Neck, 1983
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Back of Neck, 1983
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charles the First, 1983
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charles the First, 1983
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Sheriff), 1981.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Sheriff), 1981.
Jean-Michel Basqiat, La Hara, 198
Jean-Michel Basqiat, La Hara, 198
Jean-Michel Basquiat. Irony of a Negro Policeman, 1981
Jean-Michel Basquiat. Irony of a Negro Policeman, 1981
Keith Haring, Michael Stewart—USA for Africa, 1985
Keith Haring, Michael Stewart—USA for Africa, 1985
Other Work From the Exhibit

David Hammons, The Man Nobody Killed (folio 29, 1986

Lyle Ashton Harris, Saint Michael Stewart, 1994

George Condo, Portrait of Michael Stewart, 1983

Card for benefit at Danceteria, October 3, 1983, Collection of Franck Goldberg, Photo: Allison Chipak

“Remember Michael Stewart” button, 1984, Design by Eric Drooker, Collection of Patricia A. Pesce, New York, Photo: Allison Chipak

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