It is 2021, and the artist who is dominating global news is Jean-Michel Basquiat, with at least 18 works sold publicly so far to the tune of over $250 million. The catch? Basquiat, whose artistic career spanned eight short years, has been dead for 33 years now. And if the events of this year are anything to go by, the Caribbean-American artist’s fame will continue well into the 34th year of his demise with a planned exhibition set to take place in 2022.
The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat has announced that it is planning to exhibit a private collection of over “200 never before and rarely seen paintings, drawings, multimedia presentations, ephemera and artifacts” as a close and complex portrayal of the man through the perspective of his those that loved him most.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure is the title of the planned exhibition, a name derived from the artist’s 1987 painting (of the same name) that references a bartender-turned-jazz vocalist from Basquiat’s New York City childhood neighbourhood, who would go on to produce the popular 1952 song titled Moody’s Mood for Love.
The event is set to be held on the ground floor of the historical Starrett-Lehigh Building, located in the West Chelsea Historic District. The uniquely designed structure was built in 1931 and became an official New York City landmark back in 1986. Inside, there will be an exact recreation of the Great Jones Street studio and the Michael Todd VIP room where Basquait made several artworks at the Palladium nightclub.
Sir David Adjaye will lead the design of the exhibition space and in an official statement explained that “the vision for this project — to reclaim the narrative of Basquiat’s life and work and to shed new light on an artist that is only partially understood — aligns deeply with my studio’s mission of using design as a storytelling device. I envision the exhibition as an intimate narrative journey that not only displays his trailblazing career but cultivates his spirit and mission through the eyes and insights of his own family.”
And just in case you cannot physically make it to the exhibition, or would like to carry the memories of the event with you long after your visit, Rizzoli Electa has been charged with releasing an explorative new book that details the private collection. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure will be on view starting on April 9, 2022.