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European premiere of Jean-Michel Basquiat works in Heerlen, the Netherlands

European premiere of the exposition Basquiat before Basquiat, depicting works of a famous American artist who also cooperated with Andy Warhol will take place in Heerlen, the Netherlands at a renown culture center, Schunck on February 3 2019. The exposition will be open till June 2 2019. According to the curator of the exposition and the art director of Schunck Lene ter Haar it was a ‘mission impossible’. She has been busy with this project since 2011.

Works of Basquiat belong to the most expensive in the world. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 painting Untitled (LA Painting) sold for $110.5 million (£85m) at Sotheby’s in New York, was the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction.

From Denver to Heerlen

On Monday, director of Schuck Kor Bonnema signed the cooperation agreement with the Museum of Contemporary Art Devnver (MCA Denver) where the exhibition can be seen at this moment. The exposition in Heerlen will be based on the works from the exposition in Denver which features the entire cache of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler in a small apartment in the East Village. There are paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Their appartament will be reconstructed. These works with numerous photos will depict Basquiat before his great breakthrough.


Biggest and most expensive

This will be the biggest and most expensive exposition ever organised by Schunck. Kor Bonnema informed that the cost of the exposition would be 650.000 euro and at this moment 350.000 is available.

Works by Basquiat will be exhibited throughout the whole building of Schunck and for the 1st time in 10 years the 4th floor will be available for the exposition, too.

Urban, Heerlen, Basquiat

Exposition of Basquiat fits perfecty in the urban character of Heerlen and strengthens its character, says Barry Braeken, alderman of the Municipality of Heerlen. Heerlen is a city where street art forms an important part of its character. There is a graffiti museum in Heerlen, international breakdance event IB is organized here annualy, hip hop culture is visible for example at the music podium Nieuwe NOR where hip hop artists perform regularly. So, this exposition means a strong connection between various artistic partners.

A new Basquiat, international tourists, happy expats

This exposition also strengthens international image of Heerlen. The organizers hope that the exposition will attract many international tourists and many expats living in Limburg already look forward to this exposition.

Linda Arnold, an artist from New York who eyewitnessed Basquiat work in the 80s and now lives in Voerendaal, is one of them and will not definitely miss it.

This exposition will be for sure an unforgettable experience also for young artists from Heerlen and surroundings, too. ‘’Maybe among them there is a new Basquiat’’ concludes Barry Braeken.

Basquiat, underground graffiti artist, painter, star

Basquiat was the first Afro-American painter who became world famous. In his work references to racial tensions can be found, but Basquiat himself did not want to be a black painter, but a famous artist.

Jean- Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn to a middle-class family in Brooklyn and he died on August 12, 1988, of a heroine overdose at his art. He was 27 years old. Jean-Michel Basquiat’ s father Gérard Basquiat, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and his mother, Matilde Basquiat, who was of Puerto Rican descent, was born in Brooklyn, New York.

In a short span of his life he managed to become from an underground graffiti artist a painter, challenging various styles exceptional artist and a star of the modern art.


His works, transformation and Andy Warhol

Jean-Michel Basquiat at the beginning of his artistic career formed part of SAMO, a political–poetical graffiti duo with his friend Al Diaz. They wrote in the late 70s enigmatic epigrams in the popular among hip hop, post-punk, street artists Lower East Side of Manhattan. Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings and produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street. He used to draw on various surfaces and objects and his paintings were mostly covered with text, words, letters, pictograms, diagrams, etc.

Later in the 1980s his neo-expressionist paintings were presented in international museums and galleries.From 1982-1985 he created multi-panel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars covered with collage and text.  Between 1984-1985 he cooperated with Any Warhol and they created joint shows, which were not received very well by critics.

Basquiat is famous for his  “suggestive dichotomies”, such as integration vs segregation, wealth vs poverty, and for…

Most famous lover

His best-known lover was Madonna. At the end of 1982 Madonna stayed with Basquiat for several months at art dealer Larry Gagosian in Los Angeles. Madonna put an end to the relationship. She was fanatic about fitness and health food, Basquiat consumed for $ 500 a day in drugs and rarely woke up before five o’clock in the afternoon.That combination did not work, she told the British newspaper The Guardian four years later. When she heard in 1988 that her ex had died, the singer was not surprised. “Jean-Michel was too fragile for this world.”


See film impression from the Denver exposition here: