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Somewhere Downtown


Maripol, Jean-Michel Basquiat in the loft, 1982, 
Polaroid SX 70 on museum paper, 91.44 x 91.44 cm. © Maripol.


Location:  Great Hall

“Somewhere Downtown” is an evocation and celebration of a now mythic time and place: the artistic community of New York City during the early and mid-1980s. Set amid the ruin and neglect of New York at its economic nadir, the art of this period marks a creative zenith of expression and experimentation. Dozens of artists who once existed as a community of shared dreams and collective obscurity now stand among the most important artists of the late twentieth century. Curated by Carlo McCormick, “Somewhere Downtown” is neither chronological nor separated by the usual divisions of genre or medium, and provides an experience of the era as a conversation between artists of very different backgrounds and intentions, brought together for a brief but magical moment. Featuring the most celebrated figures from this community, the exhibition spans the divergent strategies of conceptual, political, and graffiti art, as well as new modes of expression born in the nightclubs and on the streets. It includes several defining works of this generation, such as paintings and drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, which are shown in China for the first time. Narrating a period of radical fun brought to an untimely and tragic end by the devastating effects of drugs, AIDS, and the rapid gentrification of the city, which became unaffordable for young and poor artists, “Somewhere Downtown” is a story of great struggles and mighty achievements that continue to inspire people around the world.