Just $60,000 per month
In 1983, Jean-Michel Basquiat rented an apartment and studio space in the Bowery, New York City, from his friend and collaborator Andy Warhol. Basquiat would go on to live and work at the property for five years, up until his death in 1988. Now, you could be in with a chance of taking up residence (as long as you have $60,000 per month going spare).
Located at 57 Great Jones Street, the property spans three floors and 6,600 square feet, according to a listing by the estate agents, Meridian Capital Group. Originally built in the 1860s, and thought to be the headquarters of the notorious gangster Paul Kelly in the early 1900s, it’s now an “open loft space with high ceilings and multiple skylights”.
The historic building hasn’t been lying empty since Basquiat’s death in the late 80s. More recently, the ground floor housed the highly exclusive Japanese restaurant Bohemian – as a result, it comes fully equipped with a restaurant space with venting and gas, though prospective tenants are free to do what they want with the interior.
As for the outside of the building, a plaque from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation confirms that it was, in fact, the home of the late painter. “Renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked here, a former stable owned by friend and mentor Andy Warhol,” it reads. “Basquiat’s paintings and other work challenged established notions of high and low art, race and class, while forging a visionary language that defied characterisation.”
Since Basquiat’s death on the site, it has also become a kind of shrine to the artist and his roots as one half of the graffiti duo SAMO©. Graffiti that has decorated the building’s façade in recent years includes spray-painted replicas of Basquiat crowns, and a rendering of his silhouette as the Statue of Liberty.
Ironically – given that Basquiat’s success made the property famous – neighbours have been moaning about the street art that covers its walls since the new listing was posted. “It would be nice if building owners made any effort to remove graffiti before leasing spaces,” reads one comment on the East Village blog EV Grieve. “And the cops actually made any effort to prevent it in the first place.”
Previous attempts have been made to whitewash the walls, including when the inappropriately-named Bohemian moved in. Property developers are probably fighting a losing battle, though. To Basquiat’s biggest fans, the building will always present itself as a blank canvas, no matter who the new tenants are.