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TLO Art Quiz: Is it Desmond Mason or Basquiat?

9:42 AM EST on December 7, 2016


It's cool to see athletes transition to other things after their careers are done. Most people assume they go on to either become on-air personalities, coaches, or open up a chain of car washes. Desmond Mason still does the radio commentary stuff, but has also pursued his other passion as a painter. He studied studio art in college, and has continued to paint after his retirement from the NBA, exhibiting his work all over the world.

He even designed the graphic for the new Keep It Local card. Check it out:


That looks pretty cool, it'll definitely impress the cashier next time you use it to get a 4% discount at Organic Squeeze. It looks kinda familiar though, where have I seen that image before?


Oh yeah, it's the trademark of one of my absolute favorite modern artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Desmond has been co-opting that one for a while now, actually. Many of his paintings are derivative of Basquiat, as well as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and other very well-known artists.

It's long been said that there's nothing new in art, and that the greatest artists are also the greatest thieves. Basquiat's peer and frequent collaborator Andy Warhol built his whole career on lifting images of popular culture figures and re-purposing them. Homage, repurposing and recontextualizing are important tenants of post-modern and contemporary art. But it's a little curious that years into his art career, Mason is still trying to imitate a very popular artist's style verbatim.

For all the art nerds out there, I've compiled a quiz to test your knowledge. Below is a series of paintings by either Desmond Mason or Jean-Michel Basquiat. The answers are at the bottom. Score yourself one point for each correct answer, and see where you rank. Good luck!












Answers: 1- Basquiat, 2- Basquiat, 3- Mason, 4- Basquiat, 5- Mason, 6- Mason, 7- Neither, but it's still a fine painting, 8- Basquiat, 9- Mason, 10- Basquiat

How did you score? Did it tip you off that all the paintings that reminded you that you are, indeed, looking at art belonged to Desmond Mason? Let's see how well you know your stuff:


0-3 correct answers: Philistine

You probably looked at these and muttered something along the lines of "Huh, my toddler can paint better than this crap." You think art museums are boring, and can only appreciate a painting if it looks like a photograph.

christina fallin sloan

4-6 correct answers: Christina Fallin

You can tell the difference between a Rembrandt and a Monet, but couldn't run an art gallery to save your life.


7-9 correct answers: Junior art student

Although you still have a few years left at art school, and haven't sold a single piece yet, you totally get it. Art is about, like, the journey it takes you on, man. You like the Velvet Underground and Wes Anderson films and hang out in the Paseo on the weekends.

steve lackmeyer

Perfect score: Steve Lackmeyer

Congratulations! You have the most discerning eye and the finest taste. You subscribe to magazines like Art Forum and read everything Jerry Saltz writes. Concepts like form, palette, line, and texture all make sense to you. Other people may find you pretentious, but they just don't get the painty squiggly lines like you do.

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