A successful collaboration is always the result of a successful relationship. The paintings are the physical proof of the harmony that existed beyond the canvas....For an artist, the most important and most delicate relationship he can have with another artist is one in which he is constantly challenged and intimidated. This is probably the only productive quality of jealousy. The greatest pleasure is to be provoked to the point of inspiration. Most artists only admit this to one or two others whom they feel are equal to themselves. Very few would accept the notion that their peers are actually superior. However, in the privacy of their own thoughts, they must admit to themselves that these thoughts arise, and usually lead to a kind of unspoken competition. This provocation, coupled with a little self-confidence, can create an intense working atmosphere.
Jean-Michel and Andy achieved a healthy balance. Jean respected Andy's philosophy and was in awe of his accomplishments and mastery of color and images. Andy was amazed by the ease with which Jean composed and constructed his paintings and was constantly surprised by the never-ending flow of new ideas. Each one inspired the other to outdo the next. The collaborations were seemingly effortless. It was a physical conversation happening in paint instead of words. The sense of humor, the snide remarks, the profound realizations, the simple chit-chat all happened with paint and brushes....
For me, the paintings which resulted from this collaboration are the perfect testimony to the depth and importance of their friendship. The quality of the paintings mirrors the quality of the relationship. The sense of humor which permeates all of the works recalls the laughter which surrounded them while they were being made. They are truly an invention of what William S. Burroughs called The Third Man (two amazing minds fusing together to create a third totally separate and unique mind).
-Keith Haring, October 4, 1988, New York City (T.Shafrazi, JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, New York 1999, p. 298)
Fig. 1 Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, New York, 1985