(I met Alexis Adler around 1979 walking down St. Mark’s Place, the hub of the East Village. I was wearing an English Beat t-shirt and she stopped me, pointing at the shirt exclaiming “My friend Malu Halasa is married to the guitarist!” That was all it took to make lifelong friends in those days. It was in that 12th Street apartment I befriended Jean, heard Fela Kuti for the first time and fell asleep to the lullaby of Bowie’s ‘Low’. I crashed many nights if I was there too late; the EV was not safe after dark in those days, and you avoided the streets unless you were copping or selling. I’ve seen most of the art in this book in person, and if you want an intimate snapshot of JMB before he was famous, I highly recommend getting this amazing book. Andrea)
Alexis Adler discusses images she took of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat when they lived together in 1979. (By Mekado Murphy and Publish Date February 13, 2017.) on Photo by Alexis Adler.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a new exhibition on Jean-Michel Basquiat is a love letter of sorts — to the artist from a former girlfriend, and to a downtown New York art scene now long gone.
“Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, is the first museum show to focus on the work and life of the artist in the brief time he lived with Alexis Adler in a sixth-floor walk-up in the East Village of Manhattan. It was a period that the exhibition posits as a seminal year of multifaceted creative exploration in the artist’s life, before painting took precedence.