Exhibition in NYC with rare art by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Image for the article titled New Exhibition in NYC will show rare works of art by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty pictures)

Jean Michel-Basquiat’s influence on art and popular culture is legendary. Although he was only 27 when he died of a heroin overdose, this former graffiti artist was known for his colorful abstract paintings, unorthodox hairstyle and friendships with pop artists Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. He developed a style that can never be recreated but often imitated.

Basquiat’s work has been used in television and film, fashion and most recently as the center of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s campaign for Tiffany & Co.

Although his paintings – which focused on historical figures, on themes ranging from social issues to popular culture – have been in great circulation over the years, there is much we have not seen. Fortunately, that will all change very soon.

Basquiat’s family revealed that the upcoming exhibition Jean Michel-Basquiat: King Pleasure © opens April 9, 2022 in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan and will show rare and never before works by the iconic artist.

The title of the exhibition is a reference to one of Basquiat’s earlier paintings, according to HypeArt:

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure © takes its title from a painting the artist made in 1987 that referred to the name of a bartender who became a jazz vocalist and who would go on to produce a hit number in 1952 titled “Moody’s Mood for Love.”

Sir David Adjaye OBE, the highly acclaimed architect, will be the exhibition designer for the show, which will include 200 pieces of Basquiat’s work, to celebrate the painter’s life and history, reports HypeArt. A book of the same name will also be published by Rizzoli Electa in conjunction with the opening of the show.

“The vision of this project – to reclaim the narrative of Basquiat’s life and work and to shed new light on an artist who is only partially understood – is deeply in line with my study’s mission to use design as a narrative apparatus,” Adjaye said in a Press release. “I imagine the exhibition as an intimate narrative journey that not only shows his groundbreaking career, but cultivates his spirit and mission through the eyes and insights of his own family.”

Much of Basquiat’s early art could be found on the sides of buildings in the late 1970s in Lower Manhattan. Graffiti was his first love; and this romance gave birth to the graffiti tag SAMO, which is pronounced as “Same old shit.” Basquiat added phrases from his old SAMO paintings in his later endeavors, some of which can be seen in the forthcoming exhibition.

The show will highlight various points in Basquiat’s life – from his childhood to his presence on the New York club scene in the 1980s. Ileen Gallagher, Rector of ISG Productions will produce the exhibition with the family of Basquiat, while Abbott Miller, a creative director of Pentagram, spearheaded the book’s creation and the show’s graphics.

“The most exciting aspect of the project is to participate in a completely unique opportunity to interpret the work from such a personal perspective,” Miller said in the press release. “The setting of the show as a family-initiated project gives it this incredibly powerful point of view, a truly unprecedented lens to see through his work.”


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