what’s wrong with these nude photos of jean-michel basquiat?

And why is his estate trying to censor them?

by Alice Newell-Hanson
01 October 2015, 3:45pm

In a very rare case of male bodily censorship, the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat has requested that a website remove photographs of the naked artistic genius from an article, published in January 2014, called "And now, Basquiat's actual balls!"

An attorney from the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat contacted an editor at Animal New York on Monday, stating that the images "disparage Mr. Basquiat and are prurient in nature." The images in question were taken by Basquiat's sometime girlfriend artist Paige Powell and were shown - for all to see - at an exhibition at New York's Suzanne Geiss gallery last year. They feature the painter reclining, sans shorts, on a futon in her apartment. Powell herself told Paper magazine, who also published the images, that Basquiat "would love these photos."

Animal New York agrees and chose to publish the attorney's email rather than removing the images. Strangely, if anything, the original article is disparaging of Powell. The author writes "Way to go, Paige Powell of the Upper West Side! Wow, you are so 'subverting the art historical tradition of the reclining nude from a female muse to a male artist' by shooting this 'treasure trove' in, like, what, 5 minutes at your house?" But actually, you know what, it is refreshing to see male nudes. #freebasquiat


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Still from Jean-Michel Basquiat – The Radiant Child

Paige Powell
jean-michel basquiat
Nude photos