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If you’re looking for a fresh way to spend your weekend, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’re about to take you on an exhilarating journey through Los Angeles—with a twist.

We’ll be exploring the world of the influential artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and immersing ourselves in a new exhibition dedicated solely to his exceptional work, including more than 200 rarely seen paintings, drawings, ephemera, and artifacts, all from the family’s estate, as well as recreations of his NYC artist studio on Great Jones St., the Basquiat family home, and the Michael Todd VIP Room of NYC’s iconic Palladium nightclub, for which Jean-Michel created two large scale paintings. Prepare to dive headfirst into the vibrant art scene and uncover hidden gems that celebrate Basquiat’s connections with LA.

Los Angeles is known for its diversity and the pulsating creativity that permeates its streets. For locals, it’s time to go deeper and discover the impact Jean-Michel Basquiat had on the city’s art scene. Let’s begin an adventure that will open our eyes to new possibilities and give us a fresh perspective on our familiar home.

People viewing Basquiat and LA map

(Image via Giovanni Reda @giovannireda)

Basquiat and LA

Jean-Michel Basquiat, a true visionary, graced the streets of Los Angeles, leaving an indelible mark on the local art scene. As we set out to explore the city, we have the chance to uncover the places that influenced Basquiat and gain a proper understanding of his incredible body of work.

Basquiat’s Favorite LA Haunts

View of nostalgic photos arranged on the ground.

(Image via Giovanni Reda @giovannireda)

Our first stop is the iconic Chateau Marmont, a renowned hotel known for its association with Hollywood glamour. When Basquiat arrived in LA for his first West Coast exhibition at the Larry Gagosian Gallery in 1982, he chose to stay at the Chateau Marmont. This historic hotel became his temporary home, providing respite and inspiration.

Next, we venture to the historic Gemini G.E.L., a printmaking workshop that played a significant role in Basquiat’s artistic development. Basquiat visited his fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg while he was creating prints at Gemini G.E.L. during the early 1980s. These visits sparked Basquiat’s exploration of more abstract drawings, revealing the influence and inspiration he drew from this creative environment.

For Basquiat, a dedicated film enthusiast, the Nuart Theatre held a special place in his heart. Known for his love of the works of Jean-Luc Godard and Alfred Hitchcock, Basquiat frequented this cherished spot to immerse himself in the cinematic world. As we visit the Nuart Theatre, we can imagine the artist sitting in the dimly lit theater, drawing inspiration from the stories unfolding on the silver screen.

Our exploration continues to Maxfield, a renowned boutique that Basquiat frequented during his time in LA. Originally known as Maxfield Blue and located in West Hollywood, this establishment became a go-to destination for Basquiat’s fashion endeavors. Although it has undergone changes and now boasts locations on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood and in Malibu, Maxfield still embodies the spirit of creativity and style that Basquiat sought during his visits.

Lastly, we find ourselves at a lookout point on Mulholland Drive, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the sparkling city lights below. Despite not being a driver himself, Basquiat often accompanied friends, including filmmaker Tamra Davis and music executive Matt Dike, on rides along Mulholland Drive. This scenic route provided him with a mesmerizing backdrop of the vast, illuminated Los Angeles cityscape.

People walking around the exhibition, admiring Basquiat's vision

(Image via Giovanni Reda @giovannireda)

Exploring Basquiat’s Influence

Now that we’ve had a chance to learn about Jean-Michel’s favorite places to frequent, let’s explore his influence. We begin at The Broad Museum, an iconic institution proudly displaying a breathtaking collection of Basquiat’s paintings. This is where you’ll be treated to an exceptional display of the artist’s work, immersing yourself in the sheer power and raw energy that permeates his art.

While perusing, you’ll notice how Basquiat’s exploration of race, identity, and social issues seamlessly blends with the diverse tapestry of LA’s culture. The artworks on display provide a profound insight into Basquiat’s worldview, shedding light on the struggles and triumphs of his personal experiences. By delving into the artist’s creations, we gain a deeper understanding of the man behind the legend. Basquiat’s thought-provoking symbolism and intricate narratives allow us to decipher the inspiration that fueled his artistic expression.

Luckily, the Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure©  exhibition is directly across the street. This is where you’ll find carefully curated treasures that will transport you into the creative mind of the man himself. Standing in front of these masterpieces, one can’t help but be awestruck, captivated by the depth and intensity conveyed in each brushstroke.

Our Basquiat-inspired adventure doesn’t end there. Next, we venture into the vibrant Arts District, a dynamic and lively neighborhood, where we’re met with homages to the artist’s profound legacy. As we stroll through the streets and alleys, we’ll encounter captivating street art that reflects Basquiat’s expressive aesthetic—solidifying his place as an inspiration for generations of artists to come.

The Arts District echoes Basquiat’s bold and boundary-breaking style. As you explore the district, you can’t help but feel a sense of connection to his vision.

View of the King Pleasure Emporium

(Image via Giovanni Reda @giovannireda)

Downtown LA: The Exhibition

Get ready to immerse yourself in Basquiat’s world as we step foot into the highly anticipated King Pleasure© exhibition dedicated to his extraordinary life and art. This experience, featured in multiple newspapers and magazines, including the LA Times and Hollywood Reporter, will take us on an unforgettable journey, tracing his artistic evolution from his early graffiti days to his groundbreaking collaborations with renowned musicians and filmmakers.

Located at The Grand LA, conveniently nestled in the heart of a multitude of museums, points of interest, and restaurants, a diverse range of mediums awaits us, including captivating paintings, intricate sketches, and awe-inspiring multimedia installations—even his actual bicycle. Each piece has its own unique story to tell, inviting us deeper into Basquiat’s artistic universe. As we explore, we’ll bear witness to many rarely-seen artworks by Basquiat, shedding new light on his artistic genius and providing fresh insights into the workings of his creative mind.

The “King Pleasure©” exhibition offers a candid glimpse into the everyday life of the artist told from the perspective of his family. Reimagined scenes of Jean-Michel’s studio include stacks of his favorite VHS tapes and books along with a variety of finished and unfinished sketches. The artist’s much-loved Comme des Garçons overcoat can also be found here. His influence permeates every aspect of the vast exhibition, which sprawls across an impressive 15,000 square feet.

Guided by curated displays and descriptions, we’ll embark on an enlightening journey, developing an appreciation for the depth and complexity of Basquiat’s art. The exhibition promises to inspire us to view the world through a fresh and dynamic lens. You’ll want to secure your tickets now to this limited engagement event—don’t miss out!

Restaurant food

(Image via Unsplash)

Dining Options

As we conclude our experience with Basquiat’s artistry, it’s time to delight our taste buds with a culinary experience that perfectly complements our exhibition visit. The Arts District is home to an array of remarkable dining options—it’s hard to choose just one!

Picture yourself at Bavel, a refined Middle Eastern eatery that exemplifies unwavering excellence, offering a profound gastronomic experience. With impeccable service and a breathtaking ambiance that still emanates the same electric atmosphere since its opening in 2018, Bavel has secured its place as a true gem.

For a more casual dining experience, we head to Everson Royce Bar, a laid-back bar and restaurant that embodies the true essence of a local establishment. It boasts one of the best outdoor spaces for large gatherings in LA, along with an impressive selection of cocktails and an extensive wine list. Their bar food is so incredible that people are willing to drive across the entire city for a taste.

Inside the Basquiat store

(Image via Giovanni Reda @giovannireda)

Local Store & Online Shopping

Before we bid farewell to our Basquiat-infused weekend, let’s make sure we bring a piece of his artistic legacy back home with us.

For this, we’ll make a special stop at the Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure© Emporium, a hidden gem located right next door to the exhibition dedicated to curating an exquisite collection of products inspired by the artist’s work. Here, you’ll find an array of unique items, ranging from fashionable apparel to great gift ideas and captivating home goods. By owning a piece of Basquiat’s art, we keep his legacy alive within the sanctity of our own personal spaces.

If online shopping is more your style, items from the store are available at shop.basquiat.com. Their wide selection of Basquiat-inspired merchandise can be conveniently delivered right to your doorstep. Explore their website and uncover the perfect piece to infuse your home or wardrobe with an artistic flair. Whether it’s a collectible King Pleasure© Bearbrick or a stylish accessory—like a bag from this collaboration between Coach and Basquiat— the online store has something for every Basquiat enthusiast. This includes the highly sought-after 336-page King Pleasure© exhibition catalog.

Jean-Michel Basquiat life-size picture

(Image via Giovanni Reda @giovannireda)

Final Thoughts

In summary, a weekend with Basquiat offers LA locals a unique opportunity to rediscover their city through the art and life of this iconic artist. As we begin this artistic journey, let us fully immerse ourselves in the experience. Take the time to savor the colors, absorb the energy, and appreciate the profound impact of Basquiat’s artistry. This weekend promises to be an inspiring adventure, allowing us to forge a personal connection with the legend himself. So, LA locals, get ready for an extraordinary weekend with Basquiat.


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