Art mates

There’s a new play centred on Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s relationship
By Ella Joyce | Art | 25 November 2021

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Lizzie Himmel

Set against the backdrop of the hedonist playground that was 80s New York, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s close friendship is being bought to London’s Young Vic theatre by Oscar-nominated writer Anthony McCarten. The turbulently symbiotic relationship between the artists is well documented: as pop-art pioneer Warhol felt his grip on the city loosening, Basquiat showed up as the trailblazing new kid on the block from New York’s progressive graffiti scene – both had something the other needed. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Lizzie Himmel

The Collaboration will see British Avenger’s star Paul Bettany take on the lead as Warhol alongside Tony award nominee Jeremy Pope as Basquiat, the production is then set for a Hollywood adaptation after its two-month run at the 550-capacity theatre beginning in February of next year, of which both actors are presumed to be in the frame to star. As Basquiat died of an overdose in 1988 aged 27, a year after Warhol died aged 58 the play focuses on the six-year period in which the pair’s friendship formed and Basquiat became Warhol’s protegé, focusing on the effect each other’s presence had on their life and work up until their deaths.

The Young Vic’s artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah will stage the production while Anna Fleischle will take on the design, Kwei-Armah divulges on the revealing nature of McCarten’s script, believing the script will challenge audiences “to lean in closely and challenge our preconceptions”.

The Collaboration will run from February 16th until April 2nd 2022, more info here

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