Adler/Basquiat E. 12 St. 1979-80

February 28 – March 6, 2017

2017 Theme BLACK MIRROR    
Curated by Jane Kim
Concept //
Collection // www.springbreakartfair.com4 Times Square, 22ND floor, Room #2221, New York, NY 10036 (Entrance on 43rd Street)

February 28, 2017  | PREVIEW Day + VERNISSAGE (invitation only)
March 1 – 6, 2017  | 11am – 6pm, Regular Show Days (guest passes, $20)
Alexis Adler, Untitled #7 (Glasses), 1979-80, Pigment print, 11 x 14 in.

SPRING/BREAK Art Show is pleased to announce Adler/Basquiat E. 12 St. 1979-80, a one person presentation of Alexis Adler’s photographs of Jean Michel Basquiat, curated by Jane Kim / 33 Orchard.

The exhibition consists of four series of black and white photographs taken in 1979-1980 by Alexis Adler, who was living with Basquiat in an apartment on East 12th Street, New York City.

“From mid-1979 to mid-1980, I lived with Jean in three different apartments, but for most of that time in an apartment that we moved into and shared on East 12th St. This was a time before Jean had canvases to work with, so he used whatever he could get his hands on, as he was constantly creating. The derelict streets of the East Village provided his raw materials and he would bring his finds up the six flights of stairs to incorporate into his art. Jean was able to make money for paint and his share of the rent, which was $80 a month, by selling sweatshirts that he painted on the street. He knew that he was a great artist.” Alexis Adler, 2016.

Adlers’ images explore Basquiat’s artistic process prior to him working in his first studio in 1981 in the basement of Annina Nosei’s gallery. The photos document how the street and downtown New York influenced Basquiat’s art as he created sculpture, paintings, furniture, appliances and clothes. He painted on the floor, doors, walls, television, radiator covers and the frigerator as well as making objects, works on paper, and sculptures. Adler photographed the artworks, with some pieces destroyed and others surviving thirty years later.

Several series of portraiture will be presented in the booth – “Hanging out,” “Glasses,” and “Fridge.” “Hanging out” includes three beautiful portraits of Basquiat, at 19 years old. “Glasses” and “Fridge.” are groups of prints that show Basquiat as perfomance artist who used the apartment as a platform to freely experiment. The images are intimate documents of a young person playing, acting, pushing the rules in his urban reality, using whatever he could find, and building his iconography which he eventually uses in his paintings.

Concurrent with the SPRING/BREAK Art Show, the Basquiat archive of works, works on paper, and Adler’s photographs are on view in “Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980” at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, February 11, 2017–May 7, 2017. An accompanying publication includes essays by Adler, Malu Halasa, Nora Burnett Abrams, Luc Sante, Darryl Pinckney, Michael Holman, Felice Rosser, Jennifer Jazz, Bud Kliment, and Sara Driver.

For questions or images, please contact Jane Kim at or +1 347 278 1500.


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by Stephanie Eckardt