'Whatever he could find became art'

Jan 31, 2014 9:13PM

Before Jean-Michel became Basquiat, and could afford studios and canvases, he painted all over his apartments —  on walls, doors, refrigerators, clothes and any other bare surface he could find. In 1979, the artist began transforming the East Village apartment he was sharing with Alexis Adler, creating a living installation.

Christie’s is honored today to announce a blockbuster month-long curated exhibition featuring a grouping of approximately 50 works coming from the Lower East Side apartment where Adler lived with Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1979 to 1980. 

 "Jean was just a young and wonderful person that had a lot to say. Everything around us was about art at that time, everything was about creativity, and whatever he could find became art. He was only 19 and just absorbing and creating. It’s been really wonderful living with these pieces for almost 35 years, and I hope that the next owners get as much joy as I did," Adler told Christies.

Three major works, a glyph-like work on plaster that reads Olive Oyl, a door titled Famous Negro Athletes and Milk painted on a radiator will highlight the First-Open sale of Post-War and Contemporary on March 6th, and a selection of 41 works and items will be sold through a dedicated online-only sale to be held March 3-17. The exhibition will also present works and archival photographs on loan from Alexis Adler’s personal collection.

See more on the sale in Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and the online-only sale page on Christie's.com.

(Image of the artist © Alexis Adler)