Leeches

Leeches
Unsigned Print

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Screenprint, 1982
Unsigned Print Edition of 50
H 56cm x W 76cm

Critical Review

There is the suggestion of an irrepressible animalistic force emerging from obscurity which is confronted by forces of sterilisation and decontamination. Alongside this is the sense of a destabilising of accepted hierarchies, as suggested by ‘Power and money (value) without nobility’.

In the visual universe constructed by Basquiat, martyrdom and nobility is inherited by the people of the street, not those born into family dynasties; Basquiat himself remarked that his art is about “kings, heroes, and the street”, acknowledging his reimagining of what it means to be noble. This interest in the words and images of royalty and nobility mirror the artist’s personal aspiration to be a true star of the art world who transcended his street art background, rather than playing second-fiddle to the gallerists and dealers who brought his work to market.