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Jean-Michel Basquiat Through Nicholas Taylor

Nicholas Taylor, Jean-Michel Basquiat through Nicholas Taylor, 1979/2014 

BORCH Gallery is delighted to present a series of photogravure portraits of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Nicholas Taylor.

The intimate portraits, capturing the early moments of a close friendship between two artists, were taken at Taylor’s apartment late into the night he first met Basquiat in New York in 1979.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, graffiti artist, painter, poet, musician and producer, who died prematurely at the age of 27 in 1988, has become an iconic figure of his generation. His Neo-Expressionist, Primitivist works reveal his profound sense of conflict between inner and outer experience. Taylor’s portraits give a rare glimpse of this inner world: Basquiat, in the privacy and liberty of the night, reveals a vulnerability, playfulness and youth alongside a profound seriousness. Although these traits characterise his canvases, they emerge rarely in other footage of the artist himself.

Taylor has collaborated with BORCH Editions to transform the original negatives into photogravure prints. The images are simultaneously being featured in Plethora Magazine’s 2nd edition, to be launched at the gallery space on the preview evening of the exhibition. Plethora Magazine is an independent, biannual publication that seeks to challenge the bounds of the conventional magazine format — conceptually as well as physically: The magazine strings together archival material, fine art prints and contemporary artist features in a novel approach to printed matter.

Nicholas Taylor, born 1953 in Belleville, Illinois, USA, moved to New York City in 1977 where he currently lives and works. In 1979, he met Jean-Michel Basquiat and joined his band Gray as guitarist. The band was unique, and associated with the No Wave scene in New York City at that time. In 1982, Basquiat named Taylor DJ High Priest for a collaboration they did at the Squat Theater in New York City. In the same year, with ‘tape loop-dj’ing’, Taylor opened in Michael Holman’s weekly Hip Hop event in the East Village. High Priest was the DJ for the New York City Breakers, opening for acts like Soul Sonic Force and Grand Master Flash. While Taylor is primarily a DJ, he has also experimented with photography, though he kept this work in his personal archives until 2004. Recently, his photographs have been shown in Tokyo, London and Copenhagen. He continues to work as a musician.

Learn more about Nicholas Taylor