Jean-Michel Basquiat Gets a Plaque in NoHo

It's a nod to his time on 57 Great Jones Street.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Courtesy Sotheby's.

That New York’s NoHo neighborhood was once Jean-Michel Basquiat’s old stomping grounds is more or less common knowledge within the art world’s collective memory. But the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) is determined to make this fact known to all, and they’re installing a plaque in his honor for good measure.

Throughout the better part of the 1980s, the art star roamed the downtown scene close to his studio and living quarters on 57 Great Jones Street, a site widely-referenced in historical accounts about the artist’s life. To immortalize the artist’s legacy, and the near-mythical era he represents, the GVSHP will be unveiling a plaque on the property on July 13.

Great Jones Street

57 Great Jones Street, New York. Courtesy of Google Maps.

“It felt like time to recognize his life in New York, and this specific geographic site that really has a special tie to his work,” a spokesperson from the GVSHP told artnet News in a phone conversation. “He lived there and he worked there. We’re doing this at a time when all of New York is being threatened by gentrification. It’s important to have his imprint in this neighborhood.”

It turns out the preservation committee has been working on the Basquiat project over the last four months. According to the spokesperson, the GVSHP has already marked a number of significant cultural heritage sites in downtown neighborhoods, including a plaque for James Baldwin on a row house in Greenwich Village.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Via YouTube.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Via YouTube.

The preservation committee, which has been around since 1980, is invested in a two-pronged agenda. “We’re involved in every renovation proposal,” the spokesperson explained. “We’re often fighting with developers, and working with communities. This is an opportunity to less regulate and fight, but more to celebrate and commemorate. It’s a chance to celebrate history and tie that history to specific geographic locations. Basquiat’s captured a lot of hearts and minds in New York and elsewhere.”

According to the GVSHP’s event page, there will be free pizza, courtesy of Two Boots, after the unveiling on July 13. Don’t forget to RSVP!

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