The past loves of the famous are always interesting, especially when the well-known forge picturesque and unexpected connections. The latest winner of the AnOther Loves vote depicts one such suprising coupling – that between Madonna and John-Michel Basquiat, who enjoyed a brief affair between 1982-3. This image of the pair, chosen by Pelican & Parrots co-proprietor Ochuko Ojiri, has captured the imagination of AnOther’s Lovers, and sent us on the hunt for the full story.
Details about their meeting and the extent of their relationship are hazy, but it’s clear is that their encounter dates from the moment when each was on the cusp of the extraordinary international fame that would turn Madonna into the definitive modern pop star and celebrate Basquiat as the progenitor of a vibrant, angry and invigorated art movement. At the point when this photo was taken – by the artist's former assistant Stephen Torton – Basquiat was an interesting name in the art world, gaining traction in part thanks to his friendship with Warhol. Madonna had just released her debut single Everybody, and was working on Lucky Star, the song that would catch America’s attention. Brief their relationship might have been, but it is representative of a very special moment in time, where all the creative energy of the time seemed to be bubbling on the streets of downtown New York.
Reluctantly yanking ourselves back to the present, and the realities of January, we ask Ojiri why he chose this moment to remember a largely forgotten 80s tryst, and to name his favourite unexpected love affair from the past.
Why did you love this picture?
In the last few months, it kept occurring to me how Madonna's legacy has been cruelly neglected. She has influenced art, fashion and music for the last three decades. This picture for me is the beginning, when she was the apprentice.
Where would you keep it if you owned it?
Obviously in the boudoir.
Madonna or Basquiat - who would be your style inspiration?
It's a very difficult question, but if pushed I'd have to go with Basquiat. Paint splattered Armani suits, love it!
Who is your favourite odd/unexpected couple from history?
I think the love triangle between Eartha Kitt, James Dean and Paul Newman is pretty special.
Who would be your dream date from the past?
I would have to go with Eartha Kitt: beautiful and intriguing.
What is the highlight of your musical past?
When Public Enemy released their album It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back in the summer of 1988. It changed my life.
What are you looking forward to about 2014?
Looking forward to putting on a load more fabulous events in our secret rum bar "BELOW" underneath Pelicans & Parrots Black.
What is the last thing you bought?
The finest bag of fish and chips to be found in London from Micky's in Hackney.
Text by Tish Wrigley