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Peter Brant and the legacy of Basquiat

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[EVG photo from March]

Tomorrow (May 13) is the last day for the Basquiat exhibit at the Brant Foundation on Sixth Street.

On this occasion, J. Faith Almiron contributes an essay — titled “No One Owns Basquiat, Not Even Peter Brant” — to Hyperallergic that explores how Brant “has cogently influenced the legacy of Basquiat on several fronts.”

And there are thoughts on the exhibit, which features some 70 works collectively valued at $1 billion:

Without guiding text or a road map, laypeople may feel disoriented or find the space aloof. On the top floor, there is a skylight that brings in natural luminosity against the artwork. If you follow it, the rooftop offers a panoramic view of the city.

Although it belies any pedagogical purpose characteristic of civic institutes like public museums, the bare presentation does not detract from the ethos and impact of the artwork. For example, the second-floor stuns with a wall of paintings framed on signature canvas stretchers innovated by former assistant Stephen Torton, from floor to high-vaulted ceilings.


Beyond the high volume and overwhelming demand, Basquiat exhibitions diversify the demography of its attendees. Unlike any other artist before or since, Basquiat invites everybody into the museum — art nerds, hip-hop heads, immigrant kids, post-colonial ex-pats, rebels young and old, everyday Black and Brown folk, thirsty celebrities, and indeed rich white people too. Basquiat hails you to revel in his glorious defiance, then take a piss on the walls of an oppressor.

Previously on EV Grieve:
1 month in: Basquiat at the Brant Foundation

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