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Why New Basquiat Exhibit is the Hottest Ticket in New York City

Genius Turner
Jean-Michel Basquiat has become synonymous with "cool."Scrubhiker (USCdyer)/Flickr

Basquiat's sisters showcase over 200 rarely shown pieces from the family's archives

New York City — Hip-hop started in New York City. Jay-Z, a native New Yorker, is widely considered the greatest rapper ever. And so, when Jay-Z — the "King of NY" — raps, "[I'm] inspired by Basquiat," and then grows dreadlocks styled like Basquiat ... ahem, what's understood need not be explained.

Americans love a good underdog story! And in Basquiat, they found a real-life Rocky.

How charming to hear tales of some poor artist going from begging for food on cold NYC streets to dining in warm 5-star restaurants?

Within the span of a few years, Basquiat went from doing graffiti on subways to attending sold-out exhibitions with his girlfriend Madonna.

Indeed, his magic transcends merely splattering paint on a canvas. After all, Jean-Michel Basquiat, the kid from Brooklyn, embodies NYC's nickname — the "City of Dreams."

Basquiat's sisters dedicated years to poring over their iconic brother’s artwork. 

The show, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure,” showcases over 200 artworks from the artist’s estate, 177 of which have never been exhibited before. Like Elvis and Marilyn, Basquiat's popularity has skyrocketed in death.

The mayor’s office even publically announced the show’s grand opening, dubbing it "Jean-Michel Basquiat Day."

“They’re literally opening up the vaults,” said Brett Gorvy, a top art dealer. “These are paintings I’ve only seen in books.”

In 2017, Basquiat's skull painting sold for a record-breaking $110.5 million at Sotheby’s. Yet as Basquiat's sisters hope to convey in the latest collection: the spirit of Basquiat's artwork, not the price tag, is wherein the true "value" lies.

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New York City, NY

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