THE SKATEROOM brings back BASQUIAT’s rarest works in a brand new skateboard art deck collection, in partnership with Fondation Beyeler.

The relationship between Jean-Michel BASQUIAT and New York was undeniably symbiotic. His art, with its signature bold style, emotionally-charged brush strokes and culturally-fuelled symbolism, seems to be in a constant visual dialogue with the city and its chaos. It is no wonder that his relatively short career became so emblematic of the New York art scene.

There is however yet another place which significantly influenced the artist’s creative outlook, drastically impacting the trajectory of his career and his relationship with the art world. Although rarely mentioned, the Italian town of Modena has been the birthplace of some of Basquiat’s most striking and most singular works, expanding his craft and fuelling his ascension from the streets into galleries worldwide. THE SKATEROOM is proud to breathe a new life into the extremely rare Modena Paintings, and reintroduce them as a special collection of skateboard art decks, in partnership with the Fondation Beyeler.

The foundation’s upcoming exhibition will present Basquiat’s paintings in one of its main galleries alongside an adjacent media space, which places the Modena paintings in their historical context and allows visitors to immerse themselves in Basquiat’s life and art through brief filmed sequences.

From Street Artist to Gallery Favorite

Early on in his career, while still under the pseudonym SAMO©, Jean-Michel made two trips to Modena at the invitation of Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli. It is there that he held his first solo show and took part in a residency, rapidly producing work which gathered the attention of international art collectors and critics. Inspired by the paintings of Mario Schifano and the grand canvases which he came across in the Italian studio, he began experimenting with scale and style, creating eight of the largest artworks of his career.

The paintings were significant, not just because of their size, but also because of their concept. Basquiat moved away from his usual graffiti-inspired symbolism, slogans and urban iconography, focusing instead on the human form and its animalistic qualities, while also choosing a much more traditional painting technique which served as further proof of his artistic prowess. The monumental works were to be showcased at a 1982 exhibition however, due to financial disputes as well as Jean-Michel’s frustration with the factory-like pace which was expected of him, the opening was canceled. In turn, the eight artworks – together valued at approximately $800 million – were acquired by private collectors across the world. Now, after 40 years, the masterpieces will be reunited at the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, and shown together, as intended, for the very first time.

Re-discovering Modena

THE SKATEROOM’s three skateboard art triptychs present those special works in a brand new form. Their unique quality lies not only in their distinct aesthetic, but also in their historical and cultural significance. As long-time champions of BASQUIAT’s art, we are honored to partner with Fondation Beyeler and shine a light on the tour-de-force that were the Modena Paintings.

Aesthetic wall decor with a Basquiat skateboard print as the centerpiece, perfect for art enthusiasts and interior design enthusiasts.

Partnership done in collaboration with Artestar, a global licensing agency and creative consultancy representing high-profile artists, photographers, designers, and creatives.

© Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York