Review: Why It Is Imperative That You See “Basquiat: The Lost Notebooks” at Brooklyn Museum

Jean-Michel Basquiat by Tseng Kwong Chi

I am a child of the arts. I grew up in a household surrounded by art and music as my father was (and still is) a painter. It has always been second nature to me to surround myself in art and beauty in all ways possible. Having an artist father has also made it second-nature to be exposed to, and grow an appreciation of the mind of an artist. As I grew older, I realized I was an artist as well, but a gift of mine is to really connect with artists on a human level.


Jean-Michel Basquiat, American, 1960-1988 Untitled [Cover, Notebook 1]
Mixed media on board

9 5/8 x 7 5/8 x 1/4 in. (24.4 x 19.4 x 0.6 cm)

I have been a fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat for many years, not because he’s become increasingly popular over the years, but because we have similar stories. Like me, he was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Caribbean immigrant parents (his father from Haiti and mother from Puerto Rico. Although his parents were not artists per say, he was surrounded by art as a child, even being a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum. I was so humbled that my first press preview at the museum was for Basquiat’s work.

When you step into the walls of Basquiat: The Lost Notebooks at the Brooklyn Museum, you are really transfixed into the mind of Basquiat, surrounded by his written thoughts on composition notebook paper, with singular pages being framed one-by-one to fill the entire room. This was such incredible energy for me, because it was much like going through the journal of a poet; seeing what moves them, what upsets them, what they hope for, and what they dream for. You are able to see snippets of this throughout the exhibition.


Jean-Michel Basquiat, American, 1960-1988 Untitled [A youth with “crow” syndrome] 1980-1981
Ink on ruled notebook paper

9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.4 x 19.4 cm)

Not just an exhibition of notebook pages, Basquiat: The Lost Notebooks is a full multi-media experience, featuring video snippets of Downtown 81 and A Conversation With Basquiat, along with various paintings, some which are being shown for the first time. The experience is one of wonder as these works are mostly new to the public. You can’t help but imagine “What if he were here to experience his fame and influence?”. Being in the presence of his notebooks, his inner-most thoughts, you are really able to gather what is the genius of Basquiat.

Brilliant yet troubled he was, through his most simple works, those from pen to the pages of a simple lined composition notebook, we are able to better understand one of the artistic greats of our time.

The exhibition is on view until August 23, 2015. Not to be missed.


Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway

Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052

Wednesday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Friday–Sunday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s