On November 4, 1982 Jean Michel Basquiat had the opening of a solo show at the Fun Gallery in New York City and his date was his then girlfriend Madonna. Among the artworks exhibited, he showed the painting now titled Equals Pi. At the occasion of this show he was interviewed and declared that he wrote the words that he would hear thanks to his source materials such as books, TV or memories. The copyright emoji is a symbol he would often use in his paintings. He also once declared that “every line means something”.
The artwork was created with the help of his assistant Stephen Torton who stated that he was the one who painted the background color. The painting was acquired by Anne Dayton, editor at Art Forum for $7000.
In 2021, the painting was featured in an ad for Tiffany with Beyonce and Jay Z. The brand suggested that the background color being of the same “Tiffany blue”, Basquiat might have been inspired by the brand. This suggestion is being refuted by Basquiat’s assistant.
Sources: The Mystery of That Basquiat Painting — and Its Tiffany Blue, New York Times, Sept 4, 2021
Graffiti/post graffiti and ART/new york No, 19 - Young expressionists, MOCAtv
Basquiat equals pi, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 30" (102x 76 cm)