Basquiat: King Pleasure© in New York


The City of New York is holding in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in West Chelsea, an extraordinary Jean-Michel Basquiat multidimensional exhibition produced by The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, with Jean-Michel’s sisters, Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux as executive producers curating the exhibition – in charge after their father Gerard Basquiat who passed away in 2013 – of The Estate and of one of the world’s most important and valuable collection. The Basquiat family is sharing their collection for the first time ever to celebrate the legacy of the genius artist. Such an exhibition is not to be missed and it provides anyone interested in the famous artist a foundational insight into Jean-Michel’s incredible body of works, but also his life and the familial heritage that greatly inspired him.



“it is an intimate and personal perspective on our brother Jean-Michel’s life that only we as his family can share photographs, personal effects, and the extraordinary drawings and paintings from our family’s collection” Lisane Basquiat


The one of a king exhibition Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure© – presented and curated through the eyes of his own family – features numerous paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, and ephemera but also recreations of his NYC artist studio on Great Jones St. and the Michael Todd VIP Room of NYC’s iconic Palladium nightclub for which Jean-Michel created two paintings, one of them being The Nu-Nile, 1985, a work of an outstanding size of 496 in. x 101 in. (12,59 meters x 2,57 m). Other artifacts are shown like his childhood notebooks, the famous junior membership card to the Brooklyn Museum where he went with his mother or his bike he would use in New York as cabs would refuse to drive him. 


This work The Nu-Nile, 1985 is of an outstanding size of 495″x101″ at the recreation of VIP Room of NYC’s iconic Palladium nightclub.

Visitors can explore in chronological order the different immersive environments showcasing his works, multimedia presentations, and mementos of his family life highlighting both his artistic endeavors and his biography, so as to put the artist’s work in the context of his life as a whole. 


Featuring over 200 works  and artifacts from the estate’s collection, 177 of which have never been exhibited, the exhibition takes guests from his early childhood through posthumous accomplishments and gives context to how his heritage and family informed his work.” 


Indeed Jean Michel Basquiat was famously inspired by everything surrounding him, be it sports, fashion, music, TV, and popular culture, everything that could fuel the boldness and modern quality of his art that merges the verbal and visual. By bringing life, energy, and excitement to art, he was making it more accessible, as “he wanted to affect people, using art to speak about the world that we live in.”

His creativity captured the attention of the art world during his lifetime. Today his fame for his groundbreaking works reached beyond and he is one of the most important artists inspiring the world, with a simple message about our “shared humanity.” In that sense, he has an impact today on the younger generation and Black people, immigrants, and people like Jean Michel whose roots came with different perspectives and challenges. The exhibition aims to show the artist’s multiple facets, as he was sometimes seen as an embodiment of his successful career and today through the millions of dollars brought by the sales of his paintings. “I want my brother to be seen in full: for his humanity, his journey as an artist, and as a person who had his own identity and values”, the exhibition thus provides a wonderfully intimate journey through Jean-Michel Basquiat’s accomplishments and his struggles, a powerful homage to a painter, a draftsman but also an emotional story about an inspirational man shared by his loved one. 


Photo: Ivana Katamashvili


“The life story of Jean-Michel and the family story are totally integrated with the presentation of the artworks, and it gives you such a deeper insight into how the work was created, how it was inspired… It’s not a professional academic presentation, but that’s what’s so fresh.”, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch told the New York Times.


Entitled King Pleasure, the exhibition refers to the name of a bartender turned jazz singer who inspired a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1987. The exhibition space was designed by noted architect David Adjaye. All-encompassing experience, the exhibition in New York was accompanied by multiple events. In honor of the exhibition, the city of New York delivered a proclamation on opening day to officially declare Saturday, April 9, 2022, Jean-Michel Basquiat Day. The music platform Spotify curated playlists “Listen Like Basquiat” in conjunction with the exhibition.

David Adjaye by Chris Schwagga