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Jean-Michel Basquiat
Basquiat Test Pattern 1979 (Basquiat Gray)

1979

About the Item

Jean-Michel Basquiat Test Pattern 1979: Basquiat created this flyer on the occasion of a performance by his band, Test Pattern (later renamed to Gray), at the much fabled downtown art space, “A’s", December 5th, 1979, 330 Broome Street, NYC. A much historical work, notably exhibited & catalogued as part of the 2017 Basquiat London Boom for Real exhibition at the Barbican Centre and more recently at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MBAM) & Paris Philharmonic. Basquiat's unique squiggly line, signature vertically spaced "E", use of random technical information, and text, sometimes crossed out, is already apparent in this most seminal early work. Basquiat playfully includes, then crosses his name out on the mid lower left alongside fellow band members. Further details as follows: Offset printed flyer, 1979. 8.5 x 11 inches. Good overall vintage condition. Soiling marks; light surface creasing and fading; otherwise well-preserved (no rips or tears). Unsigned from an edition of unknown; RARE with only a few known to have survived. Provenance: obtained directly from a noted Basquiat Gray band-mate. Literature/References: Jeffrey Deitch, Diego Cortez, Franklin Sirmans and Nicola Vassell, Jean-Michel Basquiat 1981: The Studio of the Street, Milan, 2007, p. 57. - Basquiat: Boom For Real; Buchhart, Nairne & Johnson (2017) p.147. - New York University Fales Library Collection. - Wednesdays at A’s (Brévart, Ettlinger). - Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music (Buchhart, Bessières, Desmarais); entry 154 & 155. Exhibited: Basquiat: Boom for Real; Barbican London; September 2017-January 2018. Museum of the City of New York (NY, New Music: 1980-1986): 2021. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music): 2022. Basquiat Soundtracks: Paris Philharmonic (2023). Further background: See 'Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography,' Fretz, 2010: “Jean-Michel did all the posters for his band. One of the early public performances was in December 1979 at A’s, a loft at 330 Broome Street... Arleen Schloss, the owner, also let Jean-Michel stay there at times and use it as a studio for his “MAN MADE” clothing… [The hand-drawn poster for the gig] is done in his recognizable style, with strange arrows and notations added underneath. Some of the words are crossed out, and there is a dotted line of ink splashed through the middle of the page. A photocopied micro-cassette finishes off the look, suggesting some kind of sound, but not conventional music.” Wednesday’s at A’s: Arleen Schloss' “A’s,” was a legendary downtown performance space located at 330 Broome St., between Bowery and Chrystie (1979-1981). In 1979 the first band to play at A's was Jean Michel Basquiat's noise rock band Test Pattern - later renamed Gray. Gray included fellow bandmates/artists Michael Holman, Shannon Dawson, Nick Taylor, Wayne Clifford and Vincent Gallo. It was here, also, in October of the same year, where Basquiat is said to have unveiled his SAMO© color Xerox work. Said, Schloss, in 2001, "Jean-Michel basically opened the place by playing with his band...I remembered he played in his pajamas... He made a lot of stuff here, painting T-shirts on the floor etc."
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