Caribbeing one-month residency at the Brooklyn Museum features exhibition on “Life with Basquiat”


Cultural venture Caribbeing, an organization that illuminates the global Caribbean experience through arts and culture, announced today that they are entering a one-month residency at Brooklyn Museum. Through the residency, the organization’s mobile shipping container, the Caribbeing House, will feature an exhibition of rare Jean-Michael Basquiat photos from the collection of his friend and ex-lover, Alexis Adler.

The exhibition, titled “Life With Basquiat” depicts an experimental period before his meteoric rise in the art world, when Adler lived with Basquiat on East 12th Street in 1979 and 1980. The residency will run from August 5 through 28 at Caribbeing House/Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy).

Adler’s photographs offer a rare glimpse into the private life of the storied New York painter and street artist, as told through photographs, including images of his high school drawings and graffiti art.

Adler met Basquiat in 1979, after she graduated from Barnard with a degree in biology. He was 19; she was 23. During their brief time together, Basquiat used whatever materials he could find to create mixed-media art. He made ends meet by selling sweatshirts on the street. Adler’s collection is a testament to Basquiat’s artistic genius in its formative years.

“Throughout his short life, Jean Michael was a prolific artist, working with whatever he could get his hands on to create,” Adler said. “I’m happy to share my collection with the community via Caribbeing and Brooklyn Museum as a way to pay tribute to the brilliance of my dear friend.”

Basquiat rose to fame as an artist in his 20s before dying in 1988 at the age of 27. He was a Brooklyn native of Caribbean heritage; his family hails from Haiti and Puerto Rico.

Today, Adler is an embryologist in a fertility lab.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Brooklyn Museum to offer this special glimpse into the formative years of an artistic genius,” said Shelley Worrell, Founder of Caribbeing. “We are looking forward to connecting with the community to share this chapter of Basquiat’s life story while also drawing attention to a great Caribbean-American artist.”

Lauren Argentina Zelaya, Assistant Curator of Public Programs at the Brooklyn Museum, was a key architect of this residency.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat is obviously a beloved artist and cultural figure in Brooklyn and we’re excited to honor his Caribbean heritage as a part of our month long celebration of 50 years of the West Indian American Labor Day Parade,” Zelaya said. “He was a junior member of the museum as a young person, so this glimpse into his younger years is a perfect fit. We hope his legacy continues to inspire young artists and creatives who visit us at the museum.”

During the month of Caribbeing’s exhibit, visitors are invited to Brooklyn Museum’s Biergarten to share J’ouvert stories, contribute to a collective Caribbean Newsstand with artist Lizania Cruz in addition to viewing Adler’s collection.

More information about the exhibit is available at….

About Caribbeing

Caribbeing is a thriving cultural organization that stands at the crossroads of the film, art, and culture. Based in Brooklyn, AKA the “Little Caribbean,” Caribbeing spans contemporary culture and is a hub for creativity and collaborations with some of the Caribbean’s most visionary talent and innovative brands. Now in its fifth year, Caribbeing has grown into a global movement. Learn more about Caribbeing at Follow Caribbeing on Facebook at

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