A world-class exhibition in Heerlen

Basquiat – The Artist and His New York Scene
SCHUNCK Glaspaleis Heerlen

2 February – 2 June 2019

A world-class story in Heerlen

SCHUNCK brings the European première of an untold story to Heerlen: the story of the life and work of the young Basquiat and contemporaries from his New York scene in the period 1978-82. SCHUNCK presents Basquiat not as a myth, but sheds new light on this icon of contemporary art and the iconic movement of which he was a part, thus bringing a world-class exhibition to Heerlen.


Jean-Michel Basquiat(1960-1988) was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother. After leaving school early, he lived on the street for part of his teen years. As a graffiti artist, Basquiat used the city as his canvas and became part of New York’s hip-hop, post-punk and street culture scene. Basquiat befriended artists such as Keith Haringand had a brief relationship with Madonna. Basquiat first achieved recognition as one half of SAMO©,a graffiti art duo that covered the walls of the Lower East Side with mysterious texts in the late 1970s. He astonished the New York scene by making the leap in just a few years from a graffiti artist to an internationally famous Neo-Expressionist painter and megastar. Decades after his death from an overdose at the age of twenty-seven, his works and his artistic language still fascinate people all over the world. Basquiat remains one of the most important and most influential contemporary artists.


An intimate insight into his development from a street artist to an artistic icon
The exhibition introduces the public to the life and work of this iconic artist in his early years, in the intimate setting of the apartment that he shared in 1979 with his then girlfriend Alexis Adler. SCHUNCK brings the exhibition Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 from the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver to Europe. It explores the raw New York art scene in which Basquiat quickly made the step from the street to the work that we know him for. It features a selection of the brightly coloured canvases and drawings from his early years. We encounter this scene in the exhibition in which Basquiat made his breakthrough: the legendary Times Square Showin 1980 in which he exhibited alongside contemporaries such as Keith Haring, Nan Goldin and Jenny Holzer. Central to the exhibition in SCHUNCK are original works by Basquiat and others from the Times Square Show.


Discover Urban Heerlen
Basquiat’s New York scene is especially relevant to Heerlen. The do-it-yourself ethos that brought about a cultural revolution in New York in the early 1980s fits perfectly in the former mineworkers’ city that is reinventing itself. This raw and urbane city is a breeding ground for a lively graffiti, hip-hop and breakdancing scene. The large number of murals in the city is a lively example of this cultural scene. Basquiat – The Artist and His New York Scene fits seamlessly withHeerlen’s profile as the city of street art. Combine a visit to the exhibition with a guided tour of the murals, a graffiti workshop, a hip-hop performance or a Basquiat film evening. The complete public programme will soon be available at www.schunck.nl/basquiat.




The SCHUNCK Glass Palace on the Bongerd in Heerlen is a cultural institution with a museum for modern and contemporary art, an architecture institute, a library and a music and dance school. SCHUNCK has several venues in Heerlen’s different neighbourhoods. The Glass Palace is on the International Union of Architects’ list of the 1000 most important buildings of the twentieth century and is considered among the most important monuments of Functionalist architecture in the Netherlands alongside the Rietveld Schröder House and the Van Nelle Factory.

Basquiat – The Artist and His New York Scene

SCHUNCK Glaspaleis, Heerlen

2 February to 2 June 2019

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm

Closed on Mondays


SCHUNCK – Bongerd 18, 6411 JM Heerlen

+31 (0)45 577 22 00




Note for editors

The exclusive opening is on Thursday 31 January.

The press preview takes place on Friday 1 February.

To register please contact Prisca Niël, senior advisor for marketing and communications SCHUNCK, +31 (0)45 577 22 03 / [email protected]

For more information, interview requests and/or visual material:

Deneuve, Daniël Bouw, +31 (0)6 185 555 09 / [email protected]