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Spirit St Barts : Christopher Makos : Basquiat


Presented by Spirit St Barts in collaboration with UNICEF Gala St Barts and Gallery 211 int., this exhibition presents one of a kind photos of Basquiat by Christopher Makos.

Basquiat, aka King Pleasure, doesn’t need any introduction, he is best known for his primitive style and his collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol. Often spotted besides Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, Basquiat would show up to Mr. Chow decked out in an Armani suit. He’d drink kir royale and socialize with the art-world elite. In his early 20’s had gone from selling drawing for $50 in 1980’s to selling canvases that were barely dried. As an article quoted, Basquiat canvases were “at a brisk pace—so brisk, some observers joked, that the paint was barely dry”. Basquiat said he worried he had become a “gallery mascot.” Not everyone knew what to make of the young Black man and his frenetic, rebellious paintings, but everyone wanted to be associated with him. Everyone still does.

Young and ambitious, Basquiat shot straight into the center of the New York art world when he was barely out of his teens, showing with some of the country’s most influential gallerists, haunting nightclubs with Andy Warhol, and producing a staggering quantity of art work before dying of a heroin overdose, at the age of 27 in 1988.


Christopher Makos and Basquiat
Basquiat was a very interesting, soft-spoken, young African-American artist. The picture that I have of Basquiat holding the globe: it’s no accidet that he’s holding Africa in the picture because in many ways, he felt like he was the token black artist. He understood that he was the black artist that everybody wanted but he wasn’t sure if they wanted him or his work.

I was so sad that he had gotten addicted to heroin. His flame was so strong that it almost had to burn itself out. I went to his studio to show him the pictures I had taken and that’s when the drug stuff was pretty intense. There was a plate of fried eggs that he had made but didn’t finish; money, hundred dollar bills just sitting on the table; it was a portrait of a young drug addict. It was a scene out of a movie, and that was close to the end.”


Christopher Makos is a contemporary photographer and artist known for his bold photojournalism and innovative ‘insider’ perspective.
Makos was also an important influence on Andy Warhol in the 1970s and 1980s and he documented the eclectic world surrounding the “Factory”, and the vibrant New York social scene of that era, becoming a prominent figure in the New York downtown art scene where he befriended and created raw, indelible portraits of the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Salvador Dalí, Halston, Patti Smith, and Mick Jagger. With an incredible eye for emerging artists, Makos is responsible for introducing the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring to Warhol. Makos and his insightful recollections have been featured in scores of exhibitions, documentaries, and publications, including the recent critically acclaimed Netflix documentary “The Warhol Diaries” from producer Ryan Murphy.


Christopher Makos : Basquiat
December 30th, 2022 – February 28th, 2023
Spirit Art Space St.Barts
26 rue Jeanne d’Arc
Gustavia, Saint Barthelemy 97133

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