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Happy Birthday to the Much-Loved Jean-Michel Basquiat

It’s ’s Birthday. So who should we invite to his party? If it were the mid ’80s, it would be friend and collaborator , his pals from Warhol’s famous loft “The Factory”, collaborators and Debbie Harry, and his once-girlfriend, Madonna. (Especially if Madonna would sing Happy Birthday, like she did for Haring.)
Today, it seems we’d honor the legendary graffiti artist-turned-internationally praised painter—who in just eight years, amassed 1,000 pieces of art in his inimitable style and showed in galleries from New York City to Tokyo—with a party of his fans who, aside from their adoration for Basquiat, share a common love: music. “He used to say he was jealous of me because music is more accessible and it reached more people,” Madonna told The Guardian in ’96 of Basquiat; which is ironic in a time when rappers including Jay-Z, Nas, Swizz Beats, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross—among many others—drop his name in their songs. Surely Jay-Z, seen here posing with a $4.5 million Basquiat he recently purchased at a Sotheby’s auction, and whose Basquiat name checks are nearing countless, would be the first guest on our party list.