Few artists draw a crowd like Jean-Michel Basquiat: forever lionized as one of New York’s coolest cool kids, another artistic martyr gone too young. (He was memorably played by a very young Jeffery Wright in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic Basquiat.) This January, one of Brooklyn’s best-loved native sons will be fêted in the borough: Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has loaned one of Basquiat’s iconic skull paintings (this one an “Untitled” work from 1982) to the Brooklyn Museum, where it will remain on view through March 11.

Maezawa bought the painting from Sotheby’s last year for a staggering $110M. He told The New York Times his intention was to make it “more accessible to a wider audience, not just enjoyed by a select few.”

The piece will be part of the One Basquiat show at the museum, which is also supported by Maezawa before returning to a permanent home in a museum Maezawa is currently building in Japan. He is also the founder of Tokyo’s Contemporary Art Foundation.

Laila Pedro is a writer and scholar based in New York. She holds a PhD in French from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and is currently at work on a book tracing artistic connections between Cuba, France, and...