Jean-Michel Basquiat was a revolutionary artist that inspired a legion of free spirits to embrace their inner rebel. But before Basquiat was renowned he was dating Alexis Adler and transforming her walls, doors, refrigerator and other bare surfaces with art. He transformed their East Village home in 1979, painting crowns and “Milk” on the radiator.
The couple split up in 1980 and Basquiat died in 1988, but Adler bought their apartment and never renovated it, leaving all of her ex-beau’s work intact. His art lives. Adler, who is now am embryologist at New York University, also saved Basquiat’s notebooks, postcards, and other mementos he scribbled on. She also owns a script of a play Basquiat wrote and 50 rolls of film documenting his everyday life.
Now, she wants to share his unseen works with the world. Art Info reports Adler has assembled a “team of advisors to help sort through the material in preparation for a book on the collection and, in all likelihood, an exhibition and sale.” She has enlisted help from Basquiat’s former assistant, Stephen Torton and Fine Art Restoration’s Lisa Rosen has agreed to refurbish a mural Basquiat crafted in the apartment.
More than 20 years after his death, Adler thinks it’s time to release these works. “Part of the issue has been that I am a working biologist who has raised two kids on my own and have not had time or energy to deal with it,” she told Art Info. “Now is the time, however.”
Basquiat’s superstardom will guarantee the selling of his work, but money’s not Adler’s motivation. She told Art Info she’s financially secure. “I just want to show it,” she said.
Basquiat’s Ex-Girlfriend Reveals Wealth of Unseen Works