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Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure Exhibit Opens in New York City

“Jean-Michel always wanted to be famous for his art” is posted in just one of the immersive experiences that visitors can witness at the new Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit.

The exhibit, which opened last week, features more than 200 rarely seen works from the artist that defined a generation and generations to come, transports onlookers into his life from childhood to adulthood. The never before and rarely seen paintings, drawings, ephemera, and artifacts give an intimate and multidimensional portrait of Jean-Michel that can only be told by his family. All of the work comes from the family’s collection with the vast majority never having been exhibited previously.

“Making art is what his soul needed, and it was at the core of who he was.” It says inside The WORLD FAMOUS themed room, which is accompanied by six other themes; 1960 - INTRODUCTION, KINGS COUNTY, IDEAL- 57 Great Jones Street Studio (August 1983) Studio Recreation, ART GALLERY, PALLADIUM and PLACE JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT. With his family’s blessings, each theme is said to help fans get to know Jean-Michel on a deeper level.

The exhibit opens with 1960 - INTRODUCTION. Here, visitors are introduced to Jean-Michel, his family, and his heritage with several self-portraits on display. In KINGS COUNTY, the audience will witness an overview of Jean-Michel’s childhood in Brooklyn and Puerto Rico. This portion includes a replica of Jean-Michel’s childhood home, ephemera, and works by Jean-Michel including newsletters from City-as-School, sketchbooks, personal notes and effects. Home movies, interviews with family members, early drawings, and sculptures all help create the ultimate experience for any art lover.

In IDEAL- 57 Great Jones Street Studio (August 1983) Studio Recreation even Jean-Michel’s biggest fans will revel in his recreated studio. In the recreation, there are paintings, drawings, sketches, personal effects, his furniture, bicycle (his main method of transportation since he had trouble catching a cab), videotapes and his book collections. A major highlight for 80’s aficionados will be the PALLADIUM portion of the exhibit. New York City party lovers will feel at home in the iconic NYC nightclub Palladium’s VIP area, the Michael Todd Room. The exhibition recreates this space including video and soundtrack. Jean-Michel loved to party and in 1985 he created two pieces for the popular nightclub. Nu-Nile and Untitled are both back on display during this exhibition.

For this experience, the family commissioned acclaimed architect David Adjaye to be the exhibition’s designer. He is the founder of Adjaye Associates, which operates globally, and designed The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC. Rizzoli Electa will release the accompanying book, also titled Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure, to coincide with the exhibition. The book was authored by Jean-Michel’s sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, and his stepmother Nora Fitzpatrick.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure spans over 15,000-square-feet at the landmark Starrett-Lehigh Building. Tickets are currently on sale, with no exact end date in mind as of now.

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