Basquiat: Boom for Real is the most popular program in the history of Barbican
More than 7,000 visitors were present during the final weekend in London, with overall figures expected to reach more than 215,000
The first British research exhibition of the short career of Jean-Michel Basquiat was the most popular show ever staged at the Barbican Art Gallery, Jane Alison, the head of the center of visual arts, has said. Final figures for Basquiat: Boom for Real, which was closed in London yesterday, is unconfirmed but is expected to reach more than 215,000.
During the last weekend alone, more than 7,000 people flocked through the gallery, which was opened by many requests until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 8 pm on Sunday. By 1 pm on Friday, hopeful visitors lining up from the building and in the surrounding landscape of Barbican were told that tickets were already sold out for that day. An assistant suggested to people to come back and line up from 7.30 am on Saturday and Sunday to secure one of the limited tickets available on the door.
Souvenirs in the Barbican shop were equally popular. While a few stacks of catalogs were still available on Friday afternoon, only one post card remained: a black and white photograph taken by Robert Carrithers of a young Jean-Michel Basquiat without his trademark of dreadlocks. Tote bags, mugs and parasols were all sold out.
“We are delighted that Basquiat: Boom for Real has been seen by so many visitors since the opening in September and has become the most visited exhibition in the history of the Barbican,” says Alison. “There has not been a large exhibition of Basquiat’s work here in Britain for more than 20 years, so we are very happy that a new generation has seen its work for the first time in real life and for most, once in a lifetime. opportunity to see such a significant part of his work in one place. ”
The exhibition contained about 100 paintings and drawings borrowed from countless (predominantly private) collections, including that of the Austrian merchant Thaddaeus Ropac and the former tennis champion John McEnroe. Few museums – and none in the UK – have the work of Basquiat to his name. They were shown with postcards, notes and other ephemera that once belonged to the graffiti artist-turned painter, who died of heroin overdose in 1988 at the age of 27.
The exhibition now travels to the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, where it will be opened on 16 February (until 27 May). The museum, which “strongly recommends to book early for the show”, already sells tickets online.
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