The life and work of New York artist Basquiat presented by sisters

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) – The personal and professional life of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is shared in a new experience titled Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure in New York City.

More than 200 previously unseen or rarely seen paintings, drawings, ephemera and artifacts by Basquiat, who died of a drug overdose at age 27 in 1988, fill the space of the historic Starrett-Lehigh Building.

Basquiat’s sisters, Jeanine Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat, created the exhibition to present Jean-Michel, his work and the context of where he comes from and how he lived.

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“We wanted to make sure we had – the passion we feel for the project and for him and the love we have for him,” said Jeanine Heriveaux.

“One of the things we wanted to do was to make sure that people who appreciate Jean-Michel’s art have a totally immersive experience,” added Lisane Basquiat.

It took the sisters 18-19 months to fully realize the space created with ISG Productions. The couple spent hours going through their work.

The experience begins with “1960 – Introduction”, the year of his birth where his self-portrait is, then moves to “Kings County”, the place where the family grew up in Brooklyn. Other environments include “World Famous” and “Ideal” which feature his studio and trace the different periods of his life.

A replica of NYC’s Palladium nightclub VIP – Michael Todd Room, was also built to feature the two paintings, “Nu-Nile” and “Untitled”, created by Jean-Michel for the club in 1985.

“It was hard because Jean-Michel, like each of his works, is absolutely incredible. And then also to emphasize 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 culture,” said Lisane Basquiat.

Emphasis is also placed on his very strong expression of the world with three galleries in the “SoHo” section which take up the titles of his work “Royalty”, “Those Who Dress Better” and “The Irony of a Negro Policeman”.

In 2017, the vibrant, untitled 1982 portrait of Jean-Michel was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $110.5 million. At that time, it was the second highest prize ever awarded to a work of contemporary art.

All exhibits belong to the estate, which the family claims never to sell.

The experience will open on Saturday.

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Reporting by Andrew Hofstetter and Alicia Powell in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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