Following Andy Warhol's death on February 22, 1987, Basquiat became reclusive and reduced his artistic production; he did, however, complete three large works, including Untitled. The large self-portrait on the right of this work is devastating: his body is jagged and hollow, he has neither hands nor feet, and his normally full head of wild dreadlocks is almost bald. Regarding another work completed in the same year, Richard Marshall stated, "Basquiat's black figures are always self-referential" and that these new images "certainly represent a different Basquiat--one who is feeling defeated or beat up; literally by continued drug use and figuratively by negative criticism of his work, thwarted romances, and the death of his friend and collaborator, Andy Warhol" (R. Marshall, Jean-Michel Basquiat, New York, 1992, p. 26). There is a small portrait of Warhol in the upper left corner of this piece, and the words "Hallop, Hallop" refer to a 1983 painting by the same name that includes a very similar image of the artist.
The masked heads, each one designated a "FOOL", are particularly interesting since they are circled and connected by a zig-zag line through the center of the composition. They appeared in Basquiat's work as early as 1985 and sometimes included the neck, the shoulders, and the digestive track. The large teeth and open mouths continue the theme of consumption, and their white faces hidden behind black masks allude to complex issues of Basquiat's racial self-identity and the predominately white art world's hunger for the young artist's work.
Recycled characters and text abound in Basquiat's oeuvre, and here the term "Carbon," (like a carbon copy), alludes to this fact as well as to the use of photocopies in the collage. Basquiat's, use of red, pink and white paintstrokes organizes and unifies this rich, complex surface. The large scale, allover collage technique and raw handwritten style suggest the flyers and graffiti that cover city walls, the place were Basquiat began his career as SAMO.