The Artist Birthday Series

Jean-Michel Basquiat

In 1980, Basquiat starred in O’Brien’s independent film Downtown 81, originally titled New York Beat.  Downtown 81 featured some of Gray’s recordings on its soundtrack.

That same year, Basquiat met Andy Warhol at a restaurant. Basquiat presented to Warhol samples of his work, and Warhol was stunned by Basquiat’s genius and allure. The two artists later collaborated.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat also appeared in the 1981 Blondie music video “Rapture,” in a role originally intended for Grandmaster Flash, as a nightclub disc jockey. (You can spot the young artist in the video at timestamp 1:50.)
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