If Interview and the Village Voice were the publications that documented Basquiat’s world, TV Party was their television counterpart. Created and hosted by writer Glenn O’Brien (who also wrote and edited at Interview), the public-access TV show was a live, low-budget, frequently unhinged visual record of downtown personalities—Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Fab Five Freddy, John Lurie, David Byrne, and countless others.
Each episode was essentially a party, and Basquiat was a frequent guest there as well as at the other, untelevised parties scattered across downtown New York.
But remember: This was pre-Instagram. So how did the rest of the city spy on all the invite-only fêtes, the unmissable shows, and the revelry behind the velvet rope? That responsibility fell to photographers (those who were invited, anyway) like Tseng Kwong Chi and Michael Halsband, who shot for themselves, their friends, and for taste-making publications like ARTnews.
Then, as now, consumers across New York and the world paid to see what celebrities were up to, and Basquiat—young, handsome, cool, and eventually extremely successful—was most certainly a celebrity. Being a Warhol protégé didn’t hurt.