David Adjaye Associates has been commissioned to design an exhibition with rare and previously unreleased work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, to be hosted at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in West Chelsea, New York. "Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure" is the first show organized by the artist's family after his death and will feature over 200 paintings, drawings and artefacts, together with recreations of Basquiat's New York art studio and the Michael Todd VIP Room of the Palladium nightclub, for which the artist created two paintings.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was an influential figure in popular culture, and the new exhibition highlights his contribution to a wide range of issues, from Black experience to music. The show takes the name of a painting created by Basquiat in 1987 and will highlight different moments in the artist's life, from his childhood to his exceptional success. David Adjaye is leading the exhibition design, transforming the ground floor of the landmark Starrett-Lehigh Building.
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. - Sir David Adjaye
The exhibition merges the artistic trajectory of Basquiat with fragments of his personal life, woven together by stories of the influences and cultural landscape of the time. The show will launch on April 9.