Art

Basquiat tag uncovered on Megacollector’s building



A line of text, what appears to be original graffiti by the duo SAMO, was found on a Lower Manhattan building owned by developer Aby Rosen. “SAMO©,” the mark of artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Al Diaz, has since the late 1970s largely vanished from downtown Manhattan’s landscape, along with the rest of their contemporary graffiti. But now it seems that one has surfaced as a rare relic of those gritty, golden days.Construction workers renovating the decade-old, four-story building at 350 Lafayette Street in the neighborhood now known as Noho, uncovered what appears to be graffiti by the duo SAMO in early August 2017. They removed layers of paint to reveal the original stone surface, where they were greeted by a line of old yellow text.Billy Schon, who runs the street art blog Fresh Paint NYC and first noted the find, captured footage of the faded lettering. Schon has also deciphered the line as “SAMO© … AS AN END TO MIND-WASH RELIGIONS POLITICS AND BOGUS PHILOSOPHY.” The very faint yellow will make this a tough tag to authenticate, but if we consider the style, age, and location, this may very well be a trace of SAMO that has survived decades of development.The building was Noho’s last remaining homeless shelter until developer Aby Rosen purchased it in 2015 for retail use. The real estate tycoon has an art collection that includes Basquiats, but has fallen short of preserving the street art that adorns his buildings in the past. If this proves to be a real Basquiat tag, Rosen would do well to look to the example set by the developer at 184 Grand Street, where another SAMO© tag was preserved in a fourth-floor hallway even as the rest of the building was renovated, noted Hyperallergic.  



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