Basquiat Death-Site Tagger Identifies Himself, Has a Tumblr


During our recent walking tour of New York City’s remaining Warholian relics, we wandered over to 57 Great Jones Street, the building where downtown darling Jean-Michel Basquiat died in 1988. Nearly a quarter of a century later, the property bears little evidence of its art-world history: upstairs, the architectural interior-design firm Mond Design Associates inhabits the loft where Basquiat was found splayed out on the floor; downstairs is Japan Premium Beef Inc., a Kobe Club-quality Wagyu storefront butcher, and Bohemian, a sushi den (that also serves foie-gras soba) tucked away in the back, accessible through a narrow street level corridor. The only acknowledgment that the address has any special meaning, that we saw, was the phantom scribble “SAMO LIVES ON,” written beside the entrance leading to the loft where Basquiat died.

After we documented our idle wandering, the person who left the commemorative scrawl got in touch. He goes by Le Skunk, is short on words, and has an oddly disjointed Tumblr. What he did say: he wrote “Samo Lives On” over a year ago and seems glad anyone noticed. For posterity’s sake, here is the one aspect 57 Great Jones’s exterior that visibly marks the sarcophagus of a legend.