15 Portraits of Famous Musicians by Famous Artists and Photographers


One of the benefits of being a famous, successful, admired musician — besides being famous, successful, and admired — is having your portrait made by an artist of stature. Wouldn’t you like to see how you translate into an iconic Andy Warhol or be dotingly dotted into a Chuck Close original? Well, too bad. You’re not Blondie or Philip Glass. From Basquiat’s tribute to Charlie Parker to Roger Ballen’s supreme badassiffication of Die Antwoord, here’s a slideshow of famous musicians as painted, shot, sculpted, abstracted, and silkscreened by famous artists and photographers.

One of several Charlie Bird Parker tribute pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Not the one that inspired Jay-Z.

Julian Schnabel is mostly known for his films, art, and the fact that he wears a bathrobe to shindigs. He also shot an impressive series of portraits using a gigantic, handmade vintage polaroid camera, like this one of Lou Reed.

Speaking of icons, here’s a very, very expensive Debbie Harry silkscreen by Andy Warhol, although we prefer the source polaroids.

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson and shock artist Gottfried Helnwein are as natural of a pair as milk and cookies, peaches and cream, androgynous, sacrilegious monsters and bleeding, fascist-uniformed children.

Premiere realist painter Jeremy Lipking takes on Snoop Dogg. How D.O.G. distinguished!

Philip Glass has been done by Chuck Close many times; in black and white in the ’60s, in watercolors and stamp pad/fingerprints in the ’70s, and in gray handmade paper in the ’80s.

Renowned art photographer Roger Ballen didn’t just stylize much of Die Antwoord’s public image with portraits like these, he also lent his aesthetics to the “I Fink U Freeky” video. We like it a lot!

Lady Gaga got tied up and photographed by the great, famous Nobuyoshi Araki himself. If you’re going to go topless, you might as well go big.

We’re completely enraptured by painter Ben Smith’s double portraits of old Nick Cave consoling young, miniaturized Nick Cave, and Nick Cave roosting on the lap of the great divine bard Leonard Cohen.

Ryan McGinley’s Morrissey perfectly exaggerates the thinning quiff, and makes slender Moz’s now-robust frame. Just like the old days.

William Eggleston captured the funeral of the great blues legend Mississippi Fred McDowell.

This is Mark Ryden’s image of Björk inspired by “Bachelorette.” And that’s how you strip sex from nudity. Creepy.

Daniel Edwards’ endless procession of pop culture-inspired busts took a hilariously creepy turn with this double statue of young Justin Bieber and young Selena Gomez, nude and melded at the legs, trunk, and chest. “Two becoming one” has never been more terrifying.

Here’s David Byrne by Cindy Sherman. David Byrne and Cindy Sherman totally dated. Now you know. Hehehe.

This is a double tribute to the Flaming Lips and President Obama by the one and only Jayson Musson, or as you probably know him, Hennessy Youngman.