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On March 6, The Brant Foundation opened its new location at 421 East 6th Street in New York with “Jean-Michel Basquiat.” On view through May 15, the inaugural show includes works from the Brant Collections, as well as from several international museums and private collections. In celebration of the new space, Whitewaller spoke with the director of The Brant Foundation, Allison Brant, about its programming, why Basquiat comes first, and what else she’s looking forward to seeing this spring.
WHITEWALLER: How will programming between New York and Greenwich compare?
ALLISON BRANT: The Brant Foundation East Village space will feature work from the Brant Collections, which will be on long-term view, in addition to special exhibitions curated by The Foundation, as well as guest curators, throughout the year.
WW: Why did you want to inaugurate the space with a major retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat?
AB: What better way than to reconnect the East Village with a seminal figure from its past? Basquiat is one of the most celebrated artists of his time, an artist tied to New York City’s history. Even today, the manner in which he distilled the world around him makes him more relevant than ever.
WW: Peter Brant started collecting Basquiat’s work in the 1980s. Can you tell us more about the importance of the artist to the collection?
AB: Peter was an early collector of the artist’s works, which are central to the Brant Collections. We couldn’t think of a better artist with which to inaugurate this space in historical East Village than someone who was so affected by its rich cultural fabric.
WW: Outside of the Foundation, what are you looking forward to seeing in New York this May?
AB: I’m looking forward to seeing more of Basquiat in New York at the Guggenheim and at Nahmad Contemporary. The museum will be showing a thematic presentation of the artist’s work surrounding the death of Michael Stewart. In addition, Dr. Dieter Buchhart, who curated the show at the Foundation, will curate an exhibition at Nahmad Contemporary in New York entitled “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox,” opening March 12. Beyond Basquiat, I’m sure the show of works by Nancy Spero at MoMA PS1 opening March 31 will be great.