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Curator InsightsJessica Beck and Michael Hermann on Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

A picture of a person in a t-shirt and black jacket in front of a white, tile background looking at the camera.

Michael Dayton Hermann. Photo: James J. Williams III

On the occasion of the upcoming rotation Warhol and Basquiat in Focus: Works from the Permanent Collection, Jessica Beck, Milton Fine curator of art, interviews Michael Hermann about his 2019 book Warhol on Basquiat: The Iconic Relationship Told in Andy Warhol’s Words and Pictures. Beck and Hermann discuss the research and planning that went into production of his publication, sharing the discoveries that came from research in the archives at The Andy Warhol Museum, pouring over Warhol’s contact sheets from Warhol’s late-career and cross-referencing the entries in his Diaries published in 1989. In their conversation, Beck and Hermann also take a close look at Warhol and Basquiat’s collaborative work Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper), 1985-1986, the connections to the death of Michael Stewart and Basquiat’s Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983 and the production of Warhol’s oxidation portrait of Basquiat in 1982.

About Michael Hermann

Michael Dayton Hermann received his MFA from Hunter College where he studied art theory with conceptual artist Robert Morris. In addition to his practice as a multidisciplinary artist, Hermann is the director of licensing, marketing, and sales at The Andy Warhol Foundation, where he developed notable high-profile Warhol projects including collaborations with Calvin Klein, Dior, Comme des Garçons, Supreme, Absolut, and Perrier. He conceived and edited TASCHEN’s Warhol on Basquiat and has also worked closely with TASCHEN on two publications he conceived: Andy Warhol: Polaroids 1958–1987 and Andy Warhol: Seven Illustrated Books 1952–1959. Most recently, Hermann published Andy Warhol: Love, Sex and Desire, also with TASCHEN, in 2020. 

About Jessica Beck

Jessica Beck is the Milton Fine curator of art at The Warhol. She has curated many projects including: Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body in 2016 and Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby in 2018—the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, which debuted at The Warhol to great acclaim from the New York Times and The Burlington Contemporary. In 2019, she co-curated Kim Gordon’s first museum solo exhibition in North America, Kim Gordon: Lo-Fi Glamour. She is currently at work on Marisol and Warhol Take New York, a major exhibition of the friendship, partnership, and working relationship between Marisol Escobar and Andy Warhol to debut at The Warhol in fall of 2021 and travel to the Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2022. Beck has published widely with The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Cantor Center for the Arts, Gagosian Quarterly, and Burlington Magazine. In 2017 and 2018, Beck served as the visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon School of Art, where she taught critical studies and thesis writing seminars. She completed her MA with distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art.