Jean-Michel Basquiat’s appreciation of comic book superheroes was threaded throughout his body of artistic works Batman, the Joker, Superman, Thor and Captain America appear alongside Basquiat’s iconic text and gestural marks.
In an 1983 interview for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, art critic Henry Geldzahler asked Basquiat to name the kinds of things he drew as a kid. The artist gave a rather unexpected answer; “I was a really lousy artist as a kid. Too abstract expressionist…really messy. I’d never win painting contests. I remember losing to a guy who did a perfect Spider-Man.”
When asked if he was ever happy with his childhood art, Basquiat replied, “No, not at all. I really wanted to be the best artist in the class, but my work had a really ugly edge to it.” Maybe it was this desire that led him to create artwork like the Superhero Portfolio. This portfolio features nostalgia in the form of 4 screenprints; Riddle Me This, A Panel of Experts, Piano Lesson, and Flash In Naples.
Every Jean-Michel Basquiat piece is like a puzzle, and the Superhero Portfolio is no exception. In these 4 pieces there are references to Saturday morning cartoons, corn puffs, the bat symbol, and cartoon alcohol (featuring an XXX on the bottle). Plus, there’s always many more symbols and connections to discover. Why is the Riddler standing on a snake?
Superhero Portfolio (Riddle Me This, A Panel of Experts, Piano Lesson, and Flash In Naples) (1982-87/2022) by Jean Michel Basquiat is a set of four screenprints published by Pace Prints. Superhero Portfolio (Riddle Me This, A Panel of Experts, Piano Lesson, and Flash In Naples) is an edition of 85 and is stamped and signed by Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, the artist’s sisters and administrators of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. For more information about Jean-Michel Basquiat or Untitled (Head) please contact the gallery. Call for Value