*Beyoncé and JAY-Z star in Tiffany & Co.’s 2021 “ABOUT LOVE” campaign, which features a reimagined painting from Jean-Michel Basquiat called Equals Pi. According to the release, it was included because art serves as a “common thread throughout the Carter’s love story.”
The painting will be permanently on display in Tiffany’s flagship Fifth Avenue store, per Complex.
In a new report from the Daily Beast, several close friends and collaborators of the late artist have spoken out against the campaign.
“I’d seen the ad a couple days ago and I was horrified,” said Alexis Adler, who lived with Basquiat in 1979 to 1980. “The commercialization and commodification of Jean and his art at this point—it’s really not what Jean was about.” She added that if Basquiat were alive today, he would’ve wanted his paintings readily available for the public to see at museums.
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“Unfortunately, the museums came to Jean’s art late, so most of his art is in private hands and people don’t get to see that art except for the shows. Why show it as a prop to an ad?” said Adler. “Loan it out to a museum. In a time where there were very few Black artists represented in Western museums, that was his goal: to get to a museum.”
Stephen Torton previously worked as Basquiat’s assistant and noted that Basquiat, who died in 1988, wouldn’t have been allowed inside Tiffany stores when he was alive.
“They wouldn’t have let Jean-Michel into a Tiffany’s if he wanted to use the bathroom, or, if he went to buy an engagement ring and pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket. We couldn’t even get a cab,” said Torton.
The Tiffany campaign stars Beyoncé modeling the iconic Tiffany Yellow Diamond, making her the fourth person ever to wear the piece.