Virtually Walk Through an East Village Basquiat Exhibition
Previously on view at The Brant Foundation’s New York art space, you can now see numerous Basquiat masterpieces for free and from home.
Originally shown in 2019 at The Brant Foundation’s East Village space, numerous Jean-Michel Basquiat artworks are now available to view online without cost. Through the foundation’s website, a handful of Basquiat’s self-portraits painted in the ‘80s and some of the artist’s most acclaimed pieces like Grillo (1984) and Price of Gasoline in the Third World (1982) can be seen via a virtual tour of the exhibit once situated on Manhattan’s 6th Street.
The exhibition was curated by Dr. Dieter Buchhart, set-up in collaboration with Fondation Louis Vuitton. “Basquiat’s complex oeuvre has established him as one of the most important innovators in modern art, even thirty years after his death,” wrote The Brant Foundation in the show’s original notes. “Numerous recent retrospectives have spotlighted his radical approach, illuminating his interdisciplinary contributions to music, poetry, performance, and art and cementing him as one of the most forward-thinking artists of his generation, whose complex engagement with social and political questions makes him more relevant than ever.”
Peter M. Brant, who’s mostly known for being a newspaper tycoon, owns the art space where the exhibit was featured and became one of the few to put Basquiat artworks on view for free. But as Douglas Greenwood of i-D wrote, “It’s interesting then that Basquiat’s work is presented in this setting. His career, like many Black artists, was built through great emotional turmoil put to canvas, that was then funded by white art collectors who now, decades after his death, are putting them on show.”
While the dynamics and politics between the exhibition space and the art are complicated, Basquiat’s masterpieces should continue to not only be awed over but discussed, especially right now when the movement for Black Lives asks for allies to stay educated. One avenue for self-education is art, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work features something to learn.