Peter Brant’s Foundation Will Launch a New Project Space in the East Village With a Splashy Basquiat Show

Brant's announcement comes on the heels of Interview magazine's relaunch after bankruptcy.

Peter Brant. Photo: PATRICK MCMULLAN.

Collector and magazine publisher Peter Brant has been making headlines lately for his ties to the bankrupt and newly relaunched Interview magazine. Today, however, he is in the news for another project: a brick-and-mortar project space he plans to launch in the East Village next March.

The century-old building on 421 East 6th Street previously served as the home and studio of famed sculptor Walter de Maria. Brant originally purchased it in 2014 for $27 million, according to real estate records. That spring, it hosted a pop-up exhibition of work by Dan Colen, whose art Brant collects in-depth, organized by Gagosian. But the space has remained dormant since then.

The relaunched venue—a branch of his eponymous foundation best known for its bucolic exhibition space in Greenwich, Connecticut—will debut with a solo show of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat organized in collaboration with the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The show, co-organized by Brant and the art historian Dieter Buchhart, will combine works from the collector’s holdings and objects on loan from international museums and private collectors, according to the announcement.

A spokesman for the project said that visitors can visit the space for free, provided they book their visit online in advance. It will not employ a full-time curator. The exhibitions will be largely dedicated to Brant’s own collection but will be distinct from those at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump (1982). Acrylic on canvas. 94 1/2 x 165 1/2 in. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump (1982). Acrylic on canvas. 94 1/2 x 165 1/2 in. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Architect Richard Gluckman, whose firm also renovated the Brant Foundation in Greenwich, is updating the New York building and adding 7,000 square feet of exhibition space across four floors. The space will also have two adjacent gardens and a landscaped roof terrace.

“Basquiat has been a cornerstone of the East Village art scene for decades, and to bring his work back to the neighborhood that inspired it is a great privilege,” Brant said in a statement. “Our family is thrilled to launch the Brant Foundation’s New York space with an artist who is central to the collection, and above all to share his legacy with the community that was fundamental in shaping it.”

The news of the project space comes less than a week after it was announced that Interview magazine, one of Brant’s magazine titles, is relaunching this month after having filed for bankruptcy and shuttered this past May, following years of financial struggles.

Brant now appears to be free and clear of $3.3 million in debt owed to some 300 former employees and freelancers. His $1.5 million offer to purchase Interview’s assets out of bankruptcy, made through a holding company, was approved by a New York bankruptcy court last week.

Soon afterward, according to a new story on Business of Fashion, the holding company sold the magazine’s intellectual property, trademarks, subscription list, and archive to a new company formed by Brant’s daughter Kelly Brant, the former president of Interview, and its chief revenue officer Jason Nikic.

The new company, called Crystal Ball Media, had previously prepared a slate of September content with the hopes that the sale would proceed as planned. Several art-world figures appear in or contributed to the issue, according to Business of Fashion, including Collier Schorr, who photographed French film director Agnès Varda for the cover, Ryan McGinley, and Petra Collins.

“[Peter Brant] holds no position, he is not an investor in the company and he has nothing to do with the magazine,” Kelly Brant told Business of Fashion. Crystal Ball Media, according to the article, is funded by private investors whom Brant and Nikic declined to name.

Asked to comment on the timing of the project space announcement, which some have noted on Twitter coincide with the magazine’s much-publicized financial problems and relaunch, a spokesman for the foundation declined to comment, but emphasized that the foundation operates independently of Brant’s other businesses.

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