Basquiat

Dream becomes reality. SCHUNCK* is bringing the work of visual artist Jean Michael Basquiat to Heerlen. The exhibition is planned for the period from February 2 to June 1 2019. Apart from its outstanding artistic value, an exceptional exhibition such as this will have a huge impact in the Netherlands.

‘Jean-Michel Basquiat is probably the most intriguing figure affiliated to ‘urban culture’. The city of Heerlen references itself to this idea, not least being the ‘murals capital’ of the Netherlands. Presenting Basquiat here will have a major impact on image formation and reflection. We believe that an exhibition of the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat will address current and pressing political issues around high art and pop culture. We feel it is important to bring the works of an artistic icon such as Jean-Michel Basquiat to the people.’

 Lene ter Haar (curator of SCHUNCK* Museum)

 

The exhibition is all about the life and work of Basquiat and will consist of three elements:

1. The current 'Basquiat before Basquiat' exhibition will be brought in its entirety from the United States

The current Basquiat before Basquiat exhibition will be brought in its entirety from the United States.

This exhibition will show the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the period from 1979 to 1980, the year before he made his breakthrough onto the international and New York art scene. It was during this period that he shared an apartment on East 12th Street in New York with his contemporary and photographer Alexis Adler.

The well-known Basquiat curator, Dieter Burchhart, underlines the documentary value of Alexis Adler’s pictorial narrative which is on display in this exhibition.
See also the review of the exhibition in the New York Times:

2. Times Square Show

Basquiat SCHUNCK* Times Square show

Basquiat SCHUNCK* Times Square show

The Times Square Show 1980, which signalled Basquiat’s breakthrough, also marked the emergence of the cross-over culture and the ‘urban culture’, because it was then that art, graffiti, music, DJ’ing, fashion, performance, poetry and dance all came together in one big cultural mix.

‘It was around this time that a downtown group calling itself Collaborative Projects or COLAB organized a show called the Times Square Show. They had found this sort of abandoned building at Times Square which used to be a massive parlor. [..] As it turned out, The Times Square Show was a turning point for the art world at this time. It really made a mark, because it was the first time that every kind of underground art could be seen in one place- and that included graffiti art. It was the time that the art world acknowledged that the underground existed. [..]’
Keith Haring (The authorized Biography)

 

3. Basquiat ‘and beyond’

The exhibition also examines contemporary artists working in the Netherlands in the 1980s, how they observed his work and how they themselves developed.
In June 1980 an exhibition with more than 100 artists opened under the artistic vision of COLAB, in a four-storey building on Seventh Avenue and Forty-first Street. Amongst the well-known artists taking part were: Keith Haring, Fab Five Fred, Kenny Scharf, Jenny Holzer and Jean Michel Basquiat. (Also: John Ahearn, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Christy Rupp, Jane Dickson and Tom Otterness)

The special events during the Times Square Show included films and performances by Nan Goldin, Jim Jarmusch and others.

What followed:

  • The Village Voice: ‘The first radical art show of the eighties’.
  • The established gallery circuit picked up on Basquiat and his work was exhibited in a sell-out show at Aninna Nosei in 1981. He was just 21 at the time.
  • In 1982 Jenny Holzer and Basquiat were selected to take part in Documenta 7 in Kassel, organised by Rudi Fuchs.
  • In 1983 participation in the Whitney Biennial.
  • In 1984 he had his first major solo exhibition which toured Edinburgh, London and Rotterdam.

 

About the artist

Jean-Michel Basquiat (22/12/1960 – 12/08/1988), born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, emerged from the hiphop, post-punk and graffiti & street performance scene in New York as a gritty, street-smart graffiti artist who successfully crossed over from his “downtown” origins to the international art gallery circuit. Starting with tagging around 1976, his early artistic career took place around 1979-1980, making the step from the streets to the canvas. In a few fast-paced years, Basquiat swiftly rose to become one of the most celebrated, and possibly most commercially exploited American “naif” painters connected to the Neo-Expressionism art movement.

 

 

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