In 1983, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat rented an apartment and studio in New York from pop artist Andy Warhol, his friend and mentor. Basquiat would continue to live and work on the Bowery property until his death in 1988. Now art lovers have the option of renting the three-story building, that is, if they have $60,000 per month.
Located at 57 Great Jones Street, the property is for lease by Meridian Capital Group. The real estate agency describes the top floor as an “open loft”; the ground floor was more recently a Japanese restaurant called Bohemian.
Outside the building, a plaque from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation commemorates its late tenant: “Famous artist Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked here, a former stable owned by friend and mentor Andy Warhol,” we read. “Basquiat’s paintings and other works challenged established notions of high and low art, race and class, while forging a visionary language that defied characterization.”
Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat began his artistic career as one half of the duo behind the street art pseudonym SAMO, and he remains one of the most beloved artists of the 1970s and 1980s. , he created around 600 paintings and 1,500 drawings during his short career. According to PBS’ “American Masters,” he sold his very first painting to Blondie’s Debbie Harry.
The friendship between Basquiat and Warhol was somewhat short-lived. While Basquiat admired the famous pop artist, he feared being drawn into his mentor’s shadow. According to “American Masters”, when the two artists did a show together in 1985, a New York Times magazine describes Basquiat as Warhol’s “mascot”. The friendship never recovered.
“I think Jean became very paranoid and suspicious even of Andy, and felt that, you know, Andy had a reputation for being a vampire and feeding on young artists, and needing new blood to infuse his own career,” artist Brett De Palma tells “American Masters.”
In the years following Basquiat’s death, his reputation only grew. In 2017, one of his paintings sold for over $110 million at Sotheby’s, setting a new record for work by an American artist. To this day, fans still dot the building and surrounding area with graffiti honoring Basquiat, sometimes to the chagrin of local residents, reports Dizzy.
The building’s fascinating history begins long before Warhol bought it in 1970. Gangster Paul Kelly bought it in 1904 and founded the New Brighton Athletic Club, home of the Five Points Gang, which Al Capone would later join. The building was later used for metalworking and kitchen supply businesses until Warhol bought it.