An Intimate Portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat

August 2022

For summer 2022, renowned architect David Adjaye has transformed the ground floor of the iconic Starrett-Lehigh Building into a biographical exhibition celebrating one of New York’s most notable modern artists. “King Pleasure” takes visitors on an immersive journey through the life and art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose work captured the complex intersection of art, culture, and politics as experienced by Black Americans as the 20th century drew to a close. Keep reading to learn more about Basquiat’s life and work and to get information on this unique exhibition, which is located just minutes from the Midtown rentals at 555TEN.

Jean-Michel Basquiat made a huge impact on the art world during his tragically brief career. He was raised in Brooklyn by his Puerto Rican mother and Haitian father, who encouraged their precocious son to learn multiple languages and express himself in myriad ways. By the time Basquiat was in high school, he had begun to develop his unique artistic style, which combined street culture influences like graffiti and rap with classical and literary forms.

Basquiat’s paintings soon caught the attention of art dealers in New York and Italy, and he became a part of a hip set of New York creatives, which included artist Andy Warhol, filmmaker Vincent Gallo, and musician Debbie Harry. The artist’s fame only increased after his untimely death at age 27, with one of his paintings, “Untitled,” selling for more than $100 million in 2017.

“King Pleasure” seeks to create an intimate portrait of this complicated artist by displaying more than 200 never-before-seen and rarely displayed works. The exhibit includes personal objects as well as rare paintings and drawings, all curated by the Basquiat family to tell the artist’s life story as only they know it. Overseen by David Adjaye, “King Pleasure” features distinct, immersive spaces that bring visitors into Basquiat’s world, giving them a peek behind the scenes at the artist’s influences — both personal and political.

Residents of the luxury rentals at 555TEN need only head west toward the Hudson River to reach the Starrett-Lehigh Building and experience “King Pleasure.” The exhibition’s website recommends reserving tickets ahead of time, which guarantees your ability to get in and (with the purchase of tickets at a special rate) allows you and your group to skip the line. Secure your tickets today.

And, if you’re looking for a home base from which to explore more great art and cultural landmarks, check out the availability at 555TEN, and find the perfect rental for your family.