Before He Was a Famous Artist, Basquiat’s Apartment Was His Gallery. See the Charming, Candid Photos
Show of the Day: “Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980” at the Cranbrook Art Museum.
“Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980”
Cranbrook Art Museum, Michigan
What the Museum Says: “The exhibition includes the entire cache of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler in a small apartment in the East Village. This archival material provides rare insight into the artistic life of Basquiat before he was recognized as a prominent painter in the early 1980s. While living in this apartment, Basquiat’s creative impulses moved fluidly from his SAMO tags on the surrounding streets and neighborhood into a more sustained practice in their shared home.”
Why It’s Worth a Look: At this point, the mythology surrounding Basquiat’s life and rapid rise to art world fame is inseparably entangled with our understanding of his art. “Basquiat Before Basquiat” is the closest we’re likely to get to the man behind the lore, even if the traveling exhibition is slightly complicit in the mythologizing itself. A trove of incredible photos by Adler gives a poignant picture of the person he was just before his career took off: young, silly, poor, rambunctious, and completely charged with creative energy.
What It Looks Like:
“Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980” is on view through March 11, 2018. The Cranbrook Art Museum is located at 39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
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