fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks

Fondation Beyeler x the skateroom create skateboard art from Basquiat’s artworks

 

The Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland is currently hosting an exhibition called Basquiat: The Modena Paintings, presenting eight much-celebrated artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1982. Originally intended for an exhibition in Modena, Italy, that never took place, these pieces have remained in private collections across the United States, Asia, and Switzerland, and now, after over four decades, they are brought together for the first time.

 

On the occasion of the recently-opened exhibition that will be on display until 27 August 2023, the museum has collaborated with the skateroom to introduce a collection of skateboard art decks featuring rare Modena Paintings by the American artist. Together they created three sets of skateboard art, adding a fresh perspective to the artworks, making them not only visually remarkable but also significant in terms of their historical and cultural value.

 

‘Today, all Modena Paintings are held in private collections. Some of them have been shown in various Basquiat exhibitions, but they have never been brought together and displayed side by side as originally intended by Basquiat. Thanks to our longstanding collaboration with the Basquiat family and with Basquiat collectors, we have been able to assemble all the paintings in one place, thus allowing us to catch up on a piece of art history,’ explains Sam Keller, Director of the Fondation Beyeler.

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks
THE GUILT OF GOLD TEETH, 1982, Acrylic, spray paint and oilstick on canvas, 240 x 421,3 cm | Nahmad Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: Annik Wetter 

 

 

Basquiat. The Modena Paintings at Fondation Beyeler

 

Basquiat: The Modena Paintings arrives 13 years after the Fondation Beyeler (more here) hosted a comprehensive retrospective dedicated to the artist. Basquiat, a prominent artist of the late 20th century, gained international recognition for his expressive style. As a pioneering Black artist in a predominantly white art world, he challenged societal norms and collaborated with influential figures like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Tragically, Basquiat’s life was cut short in 1988, leaving behind an extensive body of work comprising more than 1000 paintings and objects as well as 3000 works on paper. The Modena Paintings, produced during a stay in Italy, hold immense artistic and historical significance. While the exhibition was canceled then, the reassembly of these artworks offers a glimpse into Basquiat’s career and presents some of his most valuable creations.

 

Basquiat’s vibrant artworks are filled with comic-like figures, skeleton silhouettes, peculiar everyday objects, and evocative, poetic slogans. Through a fusion of motifs inspired by pop culture, cultural history, and socio-political themes, his paintings address topics such as consumerism, societal inequality, and the pervasive presence of racism. With their vivid colors and symbolic imagery, Basquiat’s works offer a powerful commentary on the complexities of our modern world.

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks
image © THE SKATEROOM

 

In 1981, Basquiat held his first solo show in Modena under the pseudonym SAMO©. The opportunity came about after Italian gallery owner Emilio Mazzoli noticed Basquiat’s work at a group exhibition in New York. Mazzoli provided Basquiat with a space and art supplies to create new works. In the summer of 1982, Basquiat returned to Modena for his first European exhibition under his real name. While there, he discovered paintings by Mario Schifano and used some of them as canvases for his own work. Basquiat created a series of large-scale paintings, marking them with the indication Modena and his signature.

 

However, conflicts between Basquiat’s New York representative, Annina Nosei, and Mazzoli resulted in the cancellation of the planned exhibition. Basquiat expressed frustration with the experience, describing it as feeling ‘like a factory, a sick factory’. Eventually, Mazzoli purchased the paintings, and Basquiat returned to New York, while they were later sold to different private collections, with four of them bought by Bruno Bischofberger. Despite their significance in Basquiat’s career and the art world, the exhibition project originally conceived by Emilio Mazzoli has not received extensive study or exhibition coverage to date. 

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks
image © THE SKATEROOM

basquiat-the-modena-paintings-the-skateroom-jean-michel-designboom-21800

UNTITLED (WOMAN WITH ROMAN TORSO [VENUS]), 1982, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 241 x 419.7 cm Private Collection | © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York, Photo: Robert Bayer

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks
PROFIT 1, 1982 Acrylic, oil stick, marker, and spray paint on canvas, 220 x 400 cm Private Collection, Switzerland | © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York, Photo: Robert Bayer

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks
image © THE SKATEROOM

basquiat-the-modena-paintings-the-skateroom-jean-michel-designboom-31800

BOY AND DOG IN A JOHNNYPUMP, 1982, Acrylic, oil stick, and spray paint on canvas; 240 x 420.4 cm, Private Collection | © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York, Photo: Daniel Portnoy

fondation beyeler & the skateroom translate basquiat’s rare modena paintings on art decks
UNTITLED (COWPARTS), 1982 Acrylic, spray paint, and oil stick on canvas, 239.4 x 420 cm, Aby Rosen Collection, New York | © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York, Photo: Adam Reich

 

 

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image © THE SKATEROOM
image © THE SKATEROOM
image © THE SKATEROOM
image © THE SKATEROOM
UNTITLED (ANGEL), 1982 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 244 x 429 cm Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: Robert Bayer
UNTITLED (ANGEL), 1982 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 244 x 429 cm Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: Robert Bayer
UNTITLED (DEVIL), 1982 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 238.7 x 500.4 cm Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: © 2023 Phillips Auctioneers LLC. All Rights Reserved
UNTITLED (DEVIL), 1982 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 238.7 x 500.4 cm Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: © 2023 Phillips Auctioneers LLC. All Rights Reserved
THE FIELD NEXT TO THE OTHER ROAD, 1982 Acrylic, enamel paint, spray paint, oil stick, and ink on canvas, 221 x 401.5 cm Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: Adam Reic
THE FIELD NEXT TO THE OTHER ROAD, 1982 Acrylic, enamel paint, spray paint, oil stick, and ink on canvas, 221 x 401.5 cm Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York Photo: Adam Reic

project info:

 

name: Basquiat. The Modena Paintings 

artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat

location: Fondation Beyeler, Basel

dates: 11 June – 27 August 2023

company: the skateroom

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