The late great artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has a new show opening in New York City. Organized by the artist’s family, the exhibition is titled Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure and is on view at Starrett Lehigh Building in Chelsea. It offers visitors an intimate look at the pioneering creative, as his family shares their collection for the first time. Doing so ultimately provides the foundation for Basquiat’s later works before his untimely death at the age of 27.
King Pleasure features over 200 works and artifacts from his estate’s collection, and a staggering 177 of those pieces have never been exhibited before. The show provides additional context for Basquiat’s artwork and includes interviews with his family and childhood friends as they recall growing up with him in New York and briefly in Puerto Rico.
Moving through the show, Basquiat’s pieces are mostly displayed in a chronological format. Pages of his sketchbooks, drawings, and personal notes are just part of what’s exhibited. Additionally, viewers can listen to the music that the artist played if they scan a Spotify code and access a special playlist. It's all set against different backdrops designed by architect Sir David Adjaye; Basquiat’s studio has been recreated as well as the Palladium, a club that the artist and his friends liked to visit. What results is a rich look at a life cut short.
Basquiat’s sisters, Jeanine and Lisane, hold an important place in this exhibition. They are two Black women from outside the art establishment in charge of this important and valuable collection.
“This is a way for us to collaborate as a community and fill in the spaces from all of our perspectives on Jean-Michel and his impact on the world. It’s a gift to our family and others that they can look at this personal account of who he was,” Lisane explains. “We wanted to bring his work and personality forward, in a way only we can, for people to immerse themselves in. We want this to be an experiential and multi-dimensional celebration of Jean-Michel's life.”
Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure is now available to view. Head to the exhibition’s website to get your tickets.