Opinion

Previously Unseen Photographs and Basquiat Ephemera Come to Light in a New York Apartment

Adler (Image via Animal New York)
Alexis Adler in her East Village apartment (all images via Animal New York)

Alexis Adler has one of the world’s greatest troves of 1980s art in her apartment — doubly true because the art is her apartment. She “had relations” with Jean Michel Basquiat, as she says in a short documentary by Animal New York, and though they weren’t quite boyfriend and girlfriend, Basquiat did decorate their shared apartment with murals and store years’ worth of his sketches and ephemera in the East Village space.

After becoming a working biologist and having two children, Adler is now revealing the stash of artwork, drawings, and objects to the world. There are 65 or so entries in the collection, according to ARTINFO, as well as several murals within the apartment. There are also Adler’s hypnotizing photographs of the wunderkind artist — Basquiat posed in the bathroom, playing a clarinet, wandering around the apartment. See some of her still unscanned slides below.

Photographs of Basquiat by ___ (Images via Animal New York)
Photographs of Basquiat by Alexis Adler
Photographs of Basquiat by ___ (Images via Animal New York)
Photographs of Basquiat by Alexis Adler

Adler is exploring the possibilities of putting the work up for sale, but she’s in no hurry. It’s not about the money; she’s “anxious to share everything,” she told Animal. “I was open to [Basquiat],” she said. “Other people would not be open to waking up and seeing a mural painted on their wall.”

For another Basquiat opportunity, the artist collective CHERYL is putting on an 1980s spectacular in April with their “Weekend at Basquiat’s,” a late-night party at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The trailer shows a dead (or maybe just comatose) Basquiat transported 30 years into the future, like a very psychedelic Rip Van Winkle. The star artist gets carted around Manhattan in a wheelchair while a variety of club kids cavort around him doing giant piles of coke off large platters. It’s like everything the ’80s should have been, and you, too, can experience it on Friday, April 5.

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