manhattanization

10

Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980

The series of photos exhibits Basquiat photographed by then-girlfriend Alexis Adler. The photos were taken during their time living together in a sixth-floor walk-up in the East Village of Manhattan. Now an embryologist in a fertility lab, Alder was “a Barnard biology grad with a strong hippie streak”, when she met 19-year-old Basquiat in 1979. He was four years her junior, and she and her friends in the club scene had been admiring his street graffiti and SAMO tag all over downtown. During the months they lived together, while Adler worked in a lab at Rockefeller University, he transformed the floors, walls, doors and furniture into his canvas. She saved more than 100 photos, art objects and ephemera from their apartment.

Adler spoke with The New York Times about their time together:

“Our apartment overflowed with art and love… We were punk pioneers homesteading in this ever-evolving remnant of the neighborhood. Art blossomed by feeding off the lawless decay.”