Willie Mays c vs. Picasso
Willie Mays was a king.
He lived long ago when air was blue.
His royal blood was indigo and
His father looked like if Charlie Parker got rich.
He crumpled up big money and threw it at people.
He had a box of Crayolas with everything but Flesh.
He looked good in a straw hat.
He collected Chesterfield coupons
because they were King size.
He loved women and they loved him back.
The secret of his painting is all colors are black.
He was pigeon-toed and eagle-eyed.
He was a good friend of Alfred Hitchcock.
He had a ranch in the Sandwich Islands.
Never owed a dime, conquered space and time.
He believed that a good line bears repeating.
He carried a clarinet like a sceptre.
Made a life mask of aluminum foil
and danced out through velvet ropes.
When he danced he cleared the floor.
People begged him to tag their door.
He led the Loas singing Soul Finger.
He was not just knee deep.
He wore designer suits for coveralls.
He windexed car windows in a tux.
His heart was big as an arena.
He was arrested for laughing with a Muslim.
He was a New York Giant.
He beat Picasso on a technical knockout.
He took the crown by the horny horns.
Boom. Boom for real.
Journalist, author and New York legend Glenn O'Brien first met Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1979 while researching an article on graffiti culture. As so many Lower Manhattan artists and thinkers, O'Brien was fascinated by the seemingly mythical figure SAMO (c), whose now iconic graffiti had exploded on downtown buildings, windows and scraps of wood and metal. Immediately sensing Basquiat's exceptional talent, O'Brien invited him to appear on his iconoclastic public access show, TV Party-an experience the young artist reveled in. It was the beginning of a long friendship that led O'Brien to write and produce the film Downtown 81, in which Basquiat starred, furthering his fame and fortune as the hottest young artist in NYC. The following three works on paper were acquired directly from the artist and come from O'Brien's personal collection. Together, they represent an important time capsule of the early 1980s art world, and the transition of a young Jean-Michel from street artist to rising star.