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A new exhibit reveals the work of an early Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat Before Basquiat was put together by an old friend and roommate of Basquiats, Alexis Adler. The exhibit is currently showing at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art.
A photo of Jean-Michel Basquiat, taken by friend Alexis Adler. (Courtesy of Alexis Adler)

A new exhibit at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art is showing a new side of Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

Comprised of previously unseen work from Basquiat's life just before he became a force in the art world, Basquiat Before Basquiat is a collection of work that has been put together by an old friend of his, Alexis Adler.

Adler and Basquiat met in the New York club scene around 1979 and were briefly roommates. This led Adler to accumulate some rare early works of his — such as a wall mural in their apartment, or a door where he scrawled his famous crown symbol. "I just woke up one morning and there it was," Adler says, about the latter piece. 

For Adler, revisiting these pieces, as well as photos of Basquiat that she took, is a "moving experience." 

"I could feel his presence with me at that moment," she says, of the moment she saw the exhibit. "It's really beautiful to look at these pictures and remember what it was like to look through the lens, at Jean, and just be with him." 

Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 will be at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art until May 7. For more information, head over to the museum's website.

Web extra: below are photos of the exhibit, as well as some photos that are on display at the exhibit.

A photo of the Basquiat Before Basquiat exhibit at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. (Kelly Shroads Photography)
A photo of the Basquiat Before Basquiat exhibit at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. (Kelly Shroads Photography)
A photo of Alexis Adler and Jean-Michel Basquiat's old apartment. (Courtesy of Alexis Adler)
A photo of Jean-Michel Basquiat taken by Alexis Adler. (Courtesy of Alexis Adler)

— Produced by Daemon Fairless

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