Jean-Michel Basquiat, Exhibition Invitation, Vrej Baghoomian, April – June 1988
Offset print, 6″ x 9″ (folded); 10 1/2″ x 9″ (open)
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s exhibition at Vrej Baghoomian would be the artist’s last before his death several months later—a death that seems almost foreshadowed by the announcement’s austere design, colorless palette, and solemn portrait photograph. The absence, on the invitation, of any of Basquiat’s work reflects his outsize celebrity stature, as abetted by his savvy use of the media. In the photo, he clutches the copy of Jack Kerouac’s The Subterraneans that he kept in his suitcase wherever he went, and which fueled his late literary aspirations.