Sir David Adjaye says of working on Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure , “The vision for this project — to reclaim the narrative of Basquiat’s life and work and to shed new light on an artist that is only partially understood — aligns deeply with my studio’s mission of using design as a storytelling device. I envision the exhibition as an intimate narrative journey that not only displays his trailblazing career but cultivates his spirit and mission through the eyes and insights of his own family.”
This exhibition will create a space where the family can celebrate Jean-Michel and share his work and story with everyone. The family has also shared the themes and environments that will make up the exhibition, each of which will have works, artifacts, and a dedicated soundtrack.
“We knew almost instantly that Sir David Adjaye was the right partner for the design of this project.” “He understood and complemented our vision. Working with him and his team has proven to be exactly the kind of collaboration we were looking for.”
– Lisane Basquiat
1960 – INTRODUCTION – This section of the exhibition introduces audiences to Jean-Michel, his family and his heritage with several self-portraits on display.
KINGS COUNTY – This section provides an overview of Jean-Michel’s childhood in Brooklyn and Puerto Rico. It will include an environmental evocation of Jean-Michel’s childhood home, ephemera and works by Jean-Michel including newsletters from City-as-School, sketchbooks, personal notes and effects, home movies, interviews with family members, early drawings and sculptures.
WORLD FAMOUS – This section details Jean-Michel’s meteoric early success including solo shows in New York and Los Angeles in 1982, as well as being the youngest of 176 artists exhibited at Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany. This section includes paintings and other ephemera. IDEAL – 57 Great Jones Street Studio (August 1983) Studio Recreation- Jean-Michel’s Great Jones Street studio will be recreated and include paintings, drawings, sketches, personal effects, his furniture, bicycle (his main method of transportation since he had trouble catching a cab), and his videotape and book collections.
ART GALLERY – This section will consist of several thematically arranged galleries with approximately 100 paintings and drawings. All works are owned by the Estate and most of them have never been seen before.
PALLADIUM- In 1985, Jean-Michel created two paintings, Nu-Nile and Untitled, for iconic NYC nightclub Palladium’s VIP area, the Michael Todd Room. The exhibition will recreate this space including video and soundtrack. This gallery also showcases Jean-Michel’s participation in the club scene.
PLACE JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT- This gallery will contain oral histories from members of Jean-Michel’s family and a close circle of friends as well as posthumous awards and exhibitions.
Sir David Adjaye OBE is an internationally acclaimed Ghanian-British architect celebrated for his ingenious use of materials, sculptural ability, and singular vision. He is the founder of Adjaye Associates which operates globally with studios in Accra, London, and New York. His largest project to date, The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC. In addition, David Adjaye is known for his frequent collaborations with contemporary artists on installations and exhibitions.
Abbott Miller of visionary design firm Pentagram has created the exhibition identity, exhibition graphics, and accompanying book for Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure . Pentagram is a multi-disciplinary design studio independently owned and run by a group of partners who are all working designers.
Miller has evolved a hybrid design practice that crosses from page to screen to narrative and architectural environments. He has collaborated with cultural clients including the Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and done books for Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Nam June Paik, Matisse, and The Rolling Stones among others.