Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life work has been well documented and even further explored in a recently dropped commemorative book aptly dubbed, Jean-Michel Basquiat. According to Artnet News, it seems that one of the drawings by the renowned artist of the late 20th century reveals hidden messages in invisible ink.
New York-based art conservator Emily Macdonald-Korth found the unique details when inspecting Basquiat’s Untitled (1981) for a client who wanted to confirm its exact date. Upon analyzing the painting under UV and infrared lighting, Macdonald-Korth eventually found the invisible ink.
“I start looking at this thing and I see these arrows,” Macdonald-Korth told Artnet News. When she turned the lights back on, the arrows disappeared, and when flipped back off, the invisible ink was revealed once more: two arrows drawn in what looked like black-light crayon, identical to other arrows drawn visibly on the canvas with red and black oil sticks. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “He basically did a totally secret part of this painting.”
While it’s not clear if Basquiat intended to implement the invisible drawings as a secret message or considered them an element of his work, Macdonald-Korth did share that, “there’s a history there, having something secret there,” she said. “He must have been playing with a UV flashlight and thought, ‘this is cool.’ It really relates to his use of erasure.”
For the full story, head on over to Artnet News.
In related news, a Jean-Michel Basquiat Broadway musical is in development. Also, peep OFF-WHITE’s Jean-Michel Basquiat-inspired collection dropping worldwide on January 12.