Basquiat Basks Again

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Photos: Sean Keenan, Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Tom Powel Imaging, Copyright Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Courtesy The Brant Foundation

The Brant Foundation Will celebrate the inauguration of its new space in New York City’s East Village with a large-scale solo exhibition of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat that fully presents the scope of the enigmatic artist and showcases the incredible exhibition space at the same time.

Located at 421 East 6th Street, the new Brant Foundation exhibition space occupies a century-old building originally designed as a substation for Consolidated Edison. The building subsequently served as the home and studio of famed artist Walter De Maria from the mid-1980s until his death in 2013.

Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Tang Architects was in charge of the massive renovation of the building and transformed the 16,000-square-foot former substation building to accommodate 7,000 square feet of exhibition space across four open floors. The transformation also enveloped the outer space, so two new gardens adorn the adjacent structure, as well as a landscaped roof terrace.

The inaugural exhibition of Basquiat’s most important artworks has been organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton and curated by Dr. Dieter Buchhart. The exhibition will bring together Basquiat’s masterworks from the Brant Collections as well as from international museums and private collections. “The retrospective will show Basquiat as a resolutely contemporary artist who created a foretaste of our Internet society by using cut-and-paste sampling from his surroundings,” says Dr. Buchhart about the choice of Basquiat for the first show, and continues: “with the astonishing radicalness of his artistic practice, Basquiat renewed the concept of art with enduring impact.”

The Brant Foundation is pleased to premiere some of the most important works from the Brant Collection, which have been amassed since the 1980s by Peter M. Brant. This important compendium of Basquiat’s works reconnects the East Village to one of its most significant past figures. As Brant describes it: “Basquiat has been a cornerstone of the East Village art scene for decades, and to bring his work back to the neighborhood that inspired it is a great privilege. Our family is thrilled to launch The Brant Foundation’s New York space with an artist who is central to the collection, and above all to share his legacy with the community that was fundamental in shaping it.”

Spanning the artist’s entire oeuvre with works from The Brant Collections as well as several international museums and private collections, it illustrates Basquiat’s prolific yet brief career and broad range of subjects, especially his keen observations of his contemporary world while giving insight into his politics, heroes, influences, and singularity of vision.

Gluckman Tang Architects (previously Gluckman Mayner Architects) is the New York City architecture firm that in 2007 the firm designed the renovation of a former cold-storage barn in Greenwich, Connecticut, transforming it into The Brant Foundation Art Study Center. Studio Cicetti Architect of Brooklyn, New York, is the owner’s representative for the East Village building, and Melissa Cicetti, who previously worked at Gluckman Mayner Architects on the The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, continues to oversee work at the building in Greenwich. The New York landscape design firm Madison Cox Associates, designed the two gardens that flank the new East Village exhibition facility, as well as the roof terrace.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT | The inaugural exhibition of The Brant Foundation’s New York Space
March 6 – May 15, 2019
The Brant Foundation | 421 East 6th Street | New York, NY 10009