Back Of The Neck

Back Of The Neck
Signed Print

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Screenprint, 1983
Signed Print Edition of 24
H 127cm x W 257cm

Critical Review

Back Of The Neck features a particularly ironic use of the copyright sign, heightening Basquiat’s always subversive use of the symbol. On this subject, Leonard Emmerling notes: “Far more ambiguous than the crown is the copyright sign, which in its direct function touches upon ownership and the valuation thereof. Painted on the walls of other people’s buildings, it not only demonstrated SAMO’s authorship but generally questioned the idea of legality itself, like all sprayed tags turning anonymity into an open profession and claiming a formal legal protection for an activity that in reality remained illegal”.

There is perhaps nothing more ludicrous than a copyright sign attached to the human form itself. Less humorous, however, is the suggestion of a dehumanised, commodified body implied by the imposition of the copyright sign in this context.