Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure©
Starrett-Lehigh Building, NYC
Opening Spring 2022
The Family of Jean-Michel Basquiat will present Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Spring 2022. The exhibition will showcase over 200 never-before-seen paintings, drawings, personal artifacts, as well as multimedia presentations from the legendary artist’s life and career with New York City as its backdrop. The showcase is intended to add new layers to the existing appreciation for his work shared by so many.
Nearly 33 years after his untimely death at the age of 27, Basquiat continues to be an icon within the cultural zeitgeist even today. His influence within the world of contemporary art remains indisputable, as his work popularized and claimed legitimacy for graffiti street art. Basquiat’s work combined aspects of music culture with literature while exploring the struggles and triumphs of the Black experience. From his work within the experimental graffiti group SAMO, he broke through the glass ceiling of the fine art world and placed Black narratives into a historically white system.
Basquiat’s legacy was further solidified on May 18th of 2017, when his piece “Untitled” (1982) sold for a record $110.5 million, surpassing his contemporary Andy Warhol’s breath-taking $106.5 million, and become the most expensive piece of American art ever sold.
The exhibit’s location, the Starrett-Lehigh Building in West Chelsea, reconnects Basquiat’s work with his home in New York City. Basquiat’s sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, and their stepmother Nora Fitzpatrick run The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat and wanted to bring a new perspective on Jean-Michel Basquiat as an artist, from the perspective of family. “There’s been many exhibitions of Jean-Michel’s work, but never told from the perspective of the family – Jean-Michel as a child, a man, a son, and a brother,” says Heriveaux. The family hopes this exhibit will celebrate the Brooklyn-born Basquiat’s birthplace, acknowledging that the city was not just where the artist worked and lived, but an essential part of his experience as a person that shaped how he saw the world and therefore influenced how he made his art.