Over 25,000 visitors for Basquiat in Heerlen

The Basquiat exhibition generated the highest visitor numbers since SCHUNCK's existence as a cultural institution.  

More than half of the visitors to the exhibition came from outside the region. Notable were the large numbers of young museum visitors, large numbers of school groups and visitors from the Euregion who found their way to the museum in Heerlen. Kor Bonnema, director of the SCHUNCK foundation, is particularly proud: "The team put down a huge project. They presented an exhibition of which the (inter)national press wondered how our museum, managed to bring in such a big name. Once again, we gave Heerlen an international stage."

The large number of requests for school visits was striking - the largest number since SCHUNCK was founded. SCHUNCK processed requests for more than 120 school visits. That brought nearly 2,500 pupils to the museum. The public programme accounted for about a fifth of visitors, mostly from the region. Special collaborations such as the one with 100% Heerlen attracted a lot of media attention. The biggest crowd-pullers were the Neighbourhood Battles, a collaboration with Job Vermeesch of HFC dance studio, the Bernardinus College graduation exhibition, the presentation at Tefaf and the Basquiat Café's in pop podium Nieuwe Nor.

Attention for the project was historically high; no SCHUNCK initiative in the past has been so widely covered in the press - regionally, nationally and internationally. The art and culture world also wrote favourably about Basquiat's surprise in Heerlen. More than 140 publications and broadcasts appeared in 12 different countries across four continents. The project thus underlines the importance of periodically presenting large and sensational exhibition projects. Thanks partly to the substantive connection between Basquiat and the city of Heerlen, the project brought pride and put Heerlen on the map. Alderman for Culture Jordy Clemens: 'This story about a world-class artist attracted thousands of people to our city and inspired young Heerlen artists. SCHUNCK managed to impressively bring Jean-Michel Basquiat's New York years to life in the heart of our city.'

Basquiat - the artist and his New York scene | 2 Feb - 2 June 2019

Through over 300 artworks, the exhibition told the story of the genesis of a young, unknown Basquiat into a world-renowned artist in the vibrant New York art scene of the early 1980s. The presentation included the exhibition Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street 1979-1980, curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.


The SCHUNCK Glaspaleis on the Bongerd in Heerlen is a cultural institution with a museum of modern and contemporary art, an architecture institute, a library and a music and dance school. SCHUNCK has several branches in the districts of Heerlen. The Glass Palace is on the International Union of Architects' list of 1,000 most important buildings of the 20th century and is mentioned in the same breath as the most important monuments of the Nieuwe Bouwen movement, such as the Rietveld Schröder House and the Van Nelle Factory.