Gagosian Opens Basquiat Show in Los Angeles

Jean-Michel Basquiat | Hollywood Africans
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hollywood Africans (1983). The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Source: Gagosian Gallery

The surge of Basquiat excitement has arrived on the West Coast, as Gagosian Gallery opened a highly anticipated Basquiat show accompanied by an impressive exhibition catalog.

Curated by Fred Hoffman and Larry Gagosian, Made on Market Street reunites 30 works Basquiat painted during his time in Los Angeles between 1982 and 1984.

The exhibition hosts loans from many prestigious collections, such as the Broad Art Foundation, the MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum Brandhorst.

Even though Basquiat is highly affiliated with the 1980s New York art scene, there was a two-year period in the artist’s career during which he stayed in Los Angeles through Larry Gagosian’s invitation. The two had met a year earlier during Basquiat’s residency at Annina Nosei’s gallery.

Living and working at Gagosian’s residence on Market Street in Venice, California for a year, and later in his own residence, Basquiat produced nearly a hundred paintings, some silk screens and numerous works on paper between 1982 and 1984.

Gagosian refers to the era as a highlight in both the artist’s and his own career, as some of Basquiat’s most well-known works are from this time period, and also, as he himself was the dealer who introduced the artist to the West Coast.

Some highlights of the exhibition are Hollywood Africans, Horn Players, and his iconic series — Flexible, Gold Griot, and M (all 1984).

Hollywood Africans portrays Basquiat alongside fellow celebrities Toxic and Rammellzee, both successful Black artists. The artwork fuses drawing, painting, and text across three panels.

Horn Players pays homage to jazz legends Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie while bringing bebop, graffiti and hip-hop together.

Flexible, Gold Griot, and M (all 1984), all exhibited as a group, reflects Basquiat’s portrayal of the Black male, with qualities hecharacterized as “royalty, heroism, and the streets.”

Larry Gagosian presented three exhibitions of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s works during the artist’s lifetime. Made on Market Street is the seventh exhibition of the artist that Gagosian has showed since the artist’s passing.

Meanwhile, Rizzoli, the famed art book publisher, will release “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Iconic Work” in May. Curated by the Basquiat expert, Dieter Buchhart, the book also doubles as the exhibition catalogue for the immense Basquiat exhibition at the Brant Foundation, at East Village in New York City in 2019.


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