The personal and professional life of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is being shared in a new experience titled, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure in New York City.”
Over 200 never-before or rarely seen paintings, drawings, ephemera and artifacts by Basquiat, who died of a drug overdose at age 27 in 1988, fill the space at the landmark Starrett-Lehigh building in Chelsea.
Basquiat’s sisters, Jeanine Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat, created the exhibit to showcase Jean-Michel, his work and the context of where he came from and how he lived.
“We wanted to make sure that we had – the passion that we’re feeling for the project and for him and the love that we have for him,” said Jeanine Heriveaux.
“One of the things that we wanted to do was to ensure that people who appreciate Jean-Michel’s art had a fully immersive experience,” added Lisane Basquiat.
It took the sisters 18-19 months to fully realize the space that was created with ISG Productions. The pair spent hours pouring through his work.
The experience starts with “1960 – Introduction”, the year he was born where his self-portrait is found and then transitions to “Kings County” the location where the family grew up in Brooklyn. Other environments include “World Famous” and “Ideal” that showcases his studio and track the different periods of his life.
A replica of NYC nightclub Palladium’s VIP – Michael Todd Room, was also constructed to showcase the two paintings, “Nu-Nile” and “Untitled”, Jean-Michel created for the club in 1985.
“It was hard because Jean-Michel, like every one of his works, is absolutely amazing. And then also putting a focus on Jean-Michel’s very strong expression of what he felt and what he thought about what was happening in the world from a political and social, economic and cultural perspective,” said Lisane Basquiat.
There is also a focus on his very strong expression of the world with three galleries in the “SoHo” section that use titles of his work “Royalty,” “Those Who Dress Better” and “The Irony of a Negro Policeman.”
In 2017 Jean-Michel’s vibrant, untitled 1982 portrait sold at auction by Sotheby’s for $110.5 million. At that time, it was the second-highest price ever for a work of contemporary art.
All of the items displayed are owned by the estate, which the family says they will never sale.
The experience opened Saturday, April 9.