Painting the town pink? Regulars strolling around the Bowery in New York won’t have failed to notice a layer of pink paint has been rolled all over the former studio of Jean-Michel Basquiat at 57 Great Jones Street. Even a memorial plaque dedicated to the iconic artist was targeted, according to the East Village news blog EV Grieve.
Basquiat leased the property from his friend Andy Warhol from 1983 until his death in 1988.
The space is currently being rented by the Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie, who plans to use the three-story building as the headquarters of Atelier Jolie, her new fashion label. “A privilege to be in this space,” she wrote on Instagram. “We will do our best to respect and honor its artist legacy with community and creativity.”
In keeping with this sentiment, Jolie made a point of not wanting to change the building’s exterior, which was covered in graffiti that paid tribute to the legacy of Basquiat, who began his career making street art. In July, artist Adrian Wilson added a massive crown, one of Basquiat’s signatures, to its facade and apparently cleaned its plaque.
Basquiat’s former studio at 57 Great Jones St. was coated in pink paint in August 2023. Photo courtesy of EV Grieve.
Jolie’s new atelier will be used to showcase work by tailors, artisans, and other creatives, as well as a workshop with free materials and facilities. “We hope to create a community of creativity and inspiration, regardless of socio-economic background,” she pledged. “We will bring together a diverse team, including apprenticeships for refugees and other talented, underappreciated groups, with positions of dignity based on skill.”
Legend has it that the building, which has been around since the 1860s, was once the headquarters of gangster Paul Kelly. More recently, it was home to an invite-only Japanese restaurant called Bohemian. It was made available to new occupants for $60,000 per month by Meridian Capital Group last November, described as an “open loft space with high ceilings and multiple skylights.”
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