Gagosian Checks Out Basquiat’s Time in L.A.


Larry Gagosian, the art world hotshot known for his epic pre-Oscars parties in Los Angeles, is switching things up this year. Instead of throwing his usual bash, he’s going back to where it all started.  And why the trip down memory lane? Well, Gagosian’s Los Angeles gallery has something cooking.

Exploring Basquiat’s West Coast Gig

In March, they’re dropping “Made on Market Street,” an exhibit shining a light on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s lesser-known stint in sunny Los Angeles in the early ’80s. Hold on a sec. Isn’t Basquiat Mr. New York? Born in Brooklyn, blowing up with his graffiti in Lower East Side Manhattan, and even resting in peace in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery? Yup, but Gagosian and his crew are throwing a curveball.

Basquiat’s Wild Ride on the West Coast

Gagosian’s taking us back to when he first met Basquiat in the basement of Annina Nosei’s gallery in SoHo. Back then, Gagosian wasn’t a big deal—he was just a kid from L.A. getting a taste of New York City. And Basquiat? Well, he caught Gagosian’s eye right off the bat. Even though he wasn’t a household name yet, his art spoke volumes to Gagosian and Nosei—they could sense something special brewing.

A Lucky Break

Gagosian drops a nugget from his buddy David Geffen, the entertainment mogul with a thing for art. Geffen once said, “To make it big, you just gotta keep grinding and hope you bump into a genius.” And for Gagosian, Basquiat was that genius. His vibe, his talent—it was like nothing Gagosian had seen before. Basquiat’s paintings were like a whole new world, a modern-day take on Cubism.

Bringing Basquiat to L.A.

So, what did Gagosian do next? He wasted no time. Right after they met, he pitched Basquiat the idea: “How about a show in L.A.?” And just like that, Basquiat’s first New York exhibit led to one on the West Coast. Gagosian swung open the doors of his gallery on North Altamont Drive, showing off Basquiat’s art to the sunny shores of L.A. And in November, Gagosian even let Basquiat crash at his place—a sweet pad on Market Street in Venice Beach, with its own gallery space and studio apartment.

Final Word

Larry Gagosian’s journey from poster hustler to art bigwig is a story in itself. And by revisiting Basquiat’s overlooked days in L.A., Gagosian isn’t just taking a trip down memory lane—he’s rewriting history. Who would’ve guessed that beneath the palm trees and sunny beaches, Basquiat’s art was brewing, waiting for the world to catch on? Well, thanks to Gagosian and his upcoming show, we’re about to find out. So, mark your calendars and get ready to dive into a piece of art history, fresh from the City of Angels.