Jolie’s Brush with Basquiat

Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie has secured the lease for the Manhattan building at 57 Great Jones Street, which was once the studio and living quarters of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The two-story structure, previously owned by Andy Warhol for 20 years, will be transformed into Atelier Jolie, a creative platform for underrepresented fashion workers.

The historic building had been on the market for $60,000 a month since November. Jolie signed an eight-year lease on the property, which holds significance as the space where Basquiat, a renowned artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, lived and created art until his untimely death in 1988. Basquiat challenged the boundaries between high art and low art through his street art style, addressing themes of race, class, religion, and mortality.

Basquiat and Warhol had a close friendship during the 1980s, but their relationship became strained after their joint exhibition received a poor reception. Basquiat’s tragic death from a heroin overdose occurred in the Noho apartment. The building has since been recognized as a significant part of New York City’s cultural heritage and landscape, with a plaque installed by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

While the news of Jolie taking over the building has received mixed responses on social media, Atelier Jolie plans to preserve the graffiti in honor of Basquiat’s early work. Jolie’s concept for the space, which emphasizes sustainability and the production of quality garments, was seen as the best fit for the building’s history.

Featured Image: NYC apartment where Basquiat once lived. Source: Curbed


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