When Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s debut show of collaborative paintings premiered in 1985, it was panned by the critics. Notoriously, the New York Times’s Vivien Raynor labelled the twentysomething street artist Basquiat a “mascot” for the ageing pop art pioneer Warhol. The critical reaction drove the artists apart and they barely spoke again before Warhol’s death only 18 months later. Just three years after the exhibition, Basquiat would also be dead at 27 from a heroin overdose.
The last time I spoke to Broadway star Jeremy Pope, in early 2020, he was promoting his debut major TV role in Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood, a big, brassy reimagining of 1940s Tinseltown. He was softly spoken but palpably excited, even in the midst of the rapidly developing pandemic. Once the reviews started to come in, Hollywood – like Warhol and Basquiat’s show – was the subject of a critical thumping. The Guardian labelled it a “crushing disappointment” for its revisionism of 1940s Tinseltown, while Variety deemed it a show with “little worth saying”.
Read the interview in the Guardian.
[This piece was published on 24/02/22]