It’s the ‘Same Old Gallery’ at Basquiat’s Former Studio on Great Jones Street

Posted on: September 17th, 2018 at 5:00 am by

Andy Warhol once owned it. Jean-Michel Basquiat lived, worked, and died in it. Now, the ground level of 57 Great Jones Street is under conversion to a temporary gallery concept inspired by the late artist.

(It was previously occupied by Japan Premium Beef.)

Indeed, one need only scope the name – The Same Old Gallery – an obvious reference to the SAMO tag that Basquiat and collaborator Al Diaz co-created back in 1977. The initials are also the subject of this month-long pop-up show, co-curated by photographer Adrian Wilson and Brian Shevlin from the Con Artist Collective. Diaz will display new works, plus archival photographs from the 1970s.

The gallery joins the silhouette stencil Wilson and Diaz created last month commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Basquiat’s death.

“Al Diaz is the perfect first artist to exhibit in this most historic of locations,” Wilson tells us. “He will unveil a new body of paintings, collages and graffiti, plus archival photographs of his work from the 1970s. After the gallery closes, the space is being converted into a restaurant, so this literaly is one moment in art history.”

The Same Old Gallery launches to the public next week (September 26).

Basquiat and Diaz coined SAMO as teenagers as shorthand for weed, “The Same Old Shit.” Both wrote suggestive political dichotomies throughout the Lower East Side between 1977 and 1980.

Warhol had purchased 57 Great Jones Street in 1970, and later rented the space to Basquiat in 1983. The artist created a live-in studio here, where he resided for the next five years. Following Warhol’s death in 1987, Basquiat’s behavior deteriorated, and despite plans to leave New York, died from a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988.

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