Last night, it was naked girls reading. Tonight, it’s a naked guy drawing. But not just any naked guy. At 6 p.m., Suzanne Geiss’s Lower East Side gallery celebrates the opening of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: intimate photos taken by Interview contributor Paige Powell during her two-year relationship with the artist who made his home on Great Jones Street. You can read all about the couple’s tumultuous run (right down to vivid descriptions of Basquiat’s b.o.) in Warhol’s diaries, and here’s the gallery’s blurb about the exhibit.
Suzanne Geiss Company is pleased to present Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude , an exhibition of rare candid photographs of Jean-Michel Basquiat taken by Paige Powell. This is the first presentation of photographs from Powell’s comprehensive archive, a significant chronicle of 1980’s art and culture in America. Her work offers uncommon glimpses into the lives of artists and friends who participated in the cultural transformations of the era.
On view is a series of black and white 35mm nude portraits of Jean-Michel Basquiat made in 1983 in Powell’s then Upper West Side apartment. Like many nights during Powell and Basquiat’s two year relationship, the images show the painter relaxed on a futon, drawing while watching cartoons. Earlier that year, Powell used the apartment to show work by Basquiat, AOne, and Rammellzee. Several of the paintings are visible on the walls of the living room where Basquiat reclines. The photographs were taken with Powell’s Canon camera, which she carried with her everywhere.
Paige Powell moved to New York City from Portland, Oregon in 1980 with the intent of working for Interview Magazine or Woody Allen. A few weeks after she arrived, she landed both jobs. Interview stuck, and Powell was Advertising Associate (later Associate Publisher) and a contributing photographer and writer. Through her work, she became a close friend and confidant of Andy Warhol, founder of the publication, and a fixture at his Factory.
Powell is a photographer, curator, and animal rights activist. She lives and works between Portland, Oregon; New York; and Los Angeles. She is in the beginning phase of organizing her extensive archive of photographs.
“Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude,” through Feb. 22 at Suzanne Geiss Company, 76 Grand St., Lower East Side