Hollywood Africans in front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars

Year: 1983/2015
Medium: 23-Color Screen-print on 4-ply Museum Board
Size: 38 x 84 1/2 inches
Edition: 60
Artist’s Proofs: 15
Publisher: Flatiron Editions, New-York, 2015

Each screen-print bears the signatures of Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, Administrators of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat on verso, as well as the stamps of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Flatiron Editions

The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat announced the release of Hollywood Africans in front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, published by Flatiron Editions, in October 2015. This release marked the first edition authorized by the estate since 2005. It was made available exclusively through Pace Prints.

 

This edition is related to the widely known 1983 artwork Hollywood Africans, owned by the Whitney Museum of American Art. It depicts Basquiat with friends, the artists Toxic and Rammellzee. The subject of the work memorializes a time when all three artists were in Los Angeles during Basquiat’s second exhibition at the Larry Gagosian Gallery. The work, a commentary on the stereotyping and marginalizing of African Americans in the entertainment industry, led them to coin the term and refer to themselves as the “Hollywood Africans.”

Hollywood Africans, 1983
Whitney Museum of American Art

 

Hollywood Africans is one of a series of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings that feature images and texts relating to stereotypes of African Americans in the entertainment industry. It was painted while Basquiat was on an extended visit to Los Angeles, California, in 1983. Several of the work’s notations are autobiographical: the trio of figures on the right depicts the artist with the rap musician Rammellzee and the painter Toxic, who had traveled with him from New York, and he includes the digits of his birth date: 12, 22, and 60. Other notations are historical: phrases such as “Sugar Cane,” “Tobacco,” “Gangsterism,” and “What is Bwana?” allude to the limited roles available to black actors in old Hollywood movies. The notion of exclusion or excision is reiterated in the way that Basquiat often crossed out words or phrases in his works. The technique, he explained, was actually meant to direct attention to them: “I cross out words so you will see them more; the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.

 

Recent Auction Results


 

AFTER JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Hollywood Africans in front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, 2015
Screenprint in colors, on museum board
Numbered ‘AP 11/15′
With Lisane Basquiat’s and Jeanine Heriveaux’s signatures in pencil
The artist’s estate stamps and dated ’10/5/15’ on the reverse
Christie’s New-York: 22 October 2019
USD 79,500

Hollywood Africans in front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, 1983/2015
Screenprint in colors on museum board
Numbered 6/60 in pencil on the front
Signed, dated ’10/5/15′ and further numbered 6/60 in pencil by Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux on the Estate stamped label affixed to the reverse
Phillips London: 12 September 2019
GBP 168,750