The portraits found within Olympic are a little more developed than most portraits that he produced elsewhere. Basquiat showed an influence from African art, such as traditional sculpture in the way that he put together most of his facial representations. Normally, they would be of fellow black men, and sometimes these would be famous people from the past whose lives he wanted to draw our attention to. The main portrait appears to be holding some sort of battle ship and then elsewhere there are references to the use of soap, with a racial opinion included within that. A car is placed in the top left, and Basquiat would use this type of vehicle within several of his paintings. The familiar crown is found to the bottom left along with further mention of soap.
New York has become one of the art capitals of the world and was a dominant location within the mid to late 20th century, surpassing the great iconic European cities such as Paris for the first time. The innovation was now appearing from the US, and this marks an important period in the development of that country which for so long had followed in the cultural footsteps of Europe, where so much of its historical roots were still based. This continues to change and many now look to the great galleries and museums in the US as a means to understand the future direction of modern art. It also represents how much more international the art world is now, with many other nations now investing in art collections in order to attract more visitors from right across the world, with Asia and the Middle East being particularly involved in that evolving marketplace.
We today can place artworks such as Two Heads on Gold, Leeches and Flexible within the context of this artist's career, but there is a bigger evolution to consider and that is the direction of the American art industry before and after the impact of artists such as this. Basquiat would help to open doors for other artists, and challenge the status quo which was endanger of ignoring and depriving us of artists from different backgrounds, thus limiting the scope of art within the country. Art has also often had a social voice, as shown centuries ago with Hogarth's use of satire and the likes of Gin Street and Beer Lane. So this was nothing new, but it was the issues that Basquiat brought up which made him different and would ultimately help the lives of members of his community through his hard-earned legacy. One can see the makeup of modern exhibitions to see the changes that have occurred over a relatively short space of time.