I had the pleasure of visiting the Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure © exhibition at the Starrett Lehigh building in West Chelsea a few times. The exhibit is extraordinary and the first one presented by Jean-Michel’s family. It provokes a wealth of feelings: joy, playfulness, shame, sorrow, nostalgia all wrapped up in inspiration and creativity.
Over 200 rarely or never-before-seen works are showcased in an immersive and very intimate environment. You become part of his life, and creative process, for a glorious few hours. The recreation of the artist’s 57 Great Jones Street Studio is beautifully haunting, while the collection of videos, books, childhood sketches, artworks and personal items allow you to connect deeply with Jean-Michel Basquiat the person.
Jean-Michel’s sisters, Lisane & Jeanine Basquiat, curated the exhibit with all works from the family’s collection, the impetus being that his works needed to be seen and told from his family’s point of view. This exhibit is truly a celebration of his life, legacy and voice.
These paintings were originally installed in the Michael Todd VIP room of the Palladium nightclub:
One of Jean-Michel’s last paintings, Dry Cell. Painted in 1988, he gifted it to his father Gerard.
The exhibition is on view through Labor Day 2022. A show not to be missed, go check it out!
As Jean-Michel illustrates in his works on view: Oh boy! Boom!
All photographs: Christopher Vicini