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Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)






Acrylic, oil, oil stick, and marker on found paper on canvas and wood, with rope


Overall: 72 1/4 × 66 5/16 in. (183.5 × 168.4 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of June and Paul Schorr in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Accession number


Object Label

Painted following a visit to Italy, Jean-Michel’s Basquiat titled this work after an amusement park outside Milan. Luna Park was also the name of one of the first amusement parks in the early twentieth century, in New York’s Coney Island, and has subsequently been the name of many such parks. In the upper section of the canvas, a simplified bull stands just above “Vaca,” the Spanish word for cow. At top, “Italy in the 1500s” likely refers to the flowering of the Renaissance; the phrase may have been taken from the contents page of a history or art history book, which Basquiat frequently raided for ideas. The crown near the bottom right is the artist’s “tag,” or signature, from his days as a graffiti artist. The raw, unpolished aesthetic of the artist’s brushwork is reinforced by the exposed crossbars latched with twine, which may have been scavenged from the street. When asked what the subject matter of his work was, Basquiat succinctly replied, “royalty, heroism, and the streets.”