Suzanne Mallouk - Gallery One New York New York Thursday, January 13, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Condition Report

  • Provenance

    Vox Populi, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1985

  • Exhibited

    New York, Vox Populi, Suzanne Mallouk, February 9-March 7, 1985

  • Catalogue Essay

    Suzanne Mallouk was integral to the 1980s East Village scene. She had a one-woman show at Vox Populi Gallery and supported her boyfriend artist Jean-Michel Basquiat during their tumultuous relationship. Her close friend Jennifer Clement published Widow Basquiat in 2000, which chronicled her relationship with Basquiat from Mallouk's perspective and was inspired by her writings and stories. These are excerpts from Widow Basquiat, quoting Suzanne Mallouk:

    "My paintings represented a creative catharsis of my relationship with Jean. I painted white famous people in black face with red lips, like George Washington on a dollar bill or the American Expressman. I painted Malcolm X and boxers. I went to my opening at the Vox Populi Gallery on 6th street in a limousine and an outfit by Andre Walker."

    "I painted Jean on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in white face. Five collectors fought over it. After the opening, it sold for three thousand five hundred dollars."

    "[Jean-Michel Basquiat] and [Andy Warhol] went to see my art show the next day. I heard that they were both very quiet while they looked at everything. They did not make fun of me or laugh at my work, which was strange. Later, Jean said to me, 'You are no fool, Venus.' He said he liked the portraits I had done of him because they laughed at him. After this, I could never paint again."

    Remembering the 1980s East Village Scene: Property from an Important New York Estate offers a vibrant survey of works, providing a glance at what one would find hanging in galleries or featured in street art showcased throughout the neighborhood during this time.

    In the 1980s, the East Village attracted artists and creatives by offering more reasonable real estate than Soho and Uptown. As a result, a group of like-minded artists and gallery owners established themselves in the East Village, fueling artists to work rebelliously. By the height of the movement, close to a hundred galleries opened in the East Village, drawing a concentration of creatives who sparked a hotbed of competing styles and attitudes. The neighborhood was bustling with artists experimenting with unusual and resourceful materials, united by this neighborhood that afforded them the liberties to explore and showcase their work.