Jean-Michael Basquiat’s Estate Keeps His Work Alive 

 Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer

Jean-Michael Basquiat, a renowned prolific artist that rose to fame during the 1980’s neo-expression movement in New York City, once said: 

“If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you’ve got to realize that influence is not influence. It’s simply someone’s idea going through my new mind.” 

Basquiat continues to have a tightening grasp on the art community by inspiring the conversation of radical commentary and innovative techniques amongst creatives, after over 30 years of his passing. Basquiat’s estate will be presenting over 200 never-before-seen and rarely shown works, opening April 9. The exhibit, hosted by Basquiat’s family, is named King Pleasure. The name, King Pleasure, derives from Basquiat’s titled painting from 1987. 

The exhibition will showcase his paintings, drawings, multimedia presentations, ephemera, and artifacts that will tell the story of Basquiat from an inward perspective, intertwining his artistic endeavors with his personal life, influences, and the times in which he lived, according to the King Pleasure exhibit. 

Basquiat’s work introduced the world to the New York Art Scene that would later bring influence to hip-hop artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West and A$AP Ferg. His work alone has contributed to the art community and has become a cultural phenomenon in music, black culture and literature. 

“Growing up, my mom had a lot of Basquiat- inspired artwork hanging around the house. Constantly being surrounded by the vibrant aura of his paintings actually inspired me to begin painting in my spare time,” said Hampton University’s first-year psychology major, Vierra Jordan. 

The exhibition will be held in the Starrett-Lehigh Building, which is one of Manhattan’s largest and premier landmark properties. The building has a history of attracting world-class creative companies and elite brands, which made it inclusive in 1932. 

Sir David Adjaye OBE, a Ghanaian-British architect, known for his work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. will transform the ground floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building through the perspective of Basquiat’s estate. 

“I think Basquiat is a multidimensional artist that faceted his emotions through his work to express the misunderstandings of the black experience. I would be totally down to visit the exhibition once it opens,” said Hampton University’s first-year marketing major, Alexandria Williams. “The opportunity to see his work that has not been released yet would be a very cool experience.” 

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