The Japanese collector who bought Basquiat’s $110m painting will fly artists—and a new partner—to the moon

Spaceman: Yusaku Maezawa is on a mission to find companions to ride in SpaceX’s rocket with him Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Aflo/Alamy

The Japanese mega collector Yusaku Maezawa is not backwards about coming forwards. “I have a passion for collecting contemporary art, Japanese antiques, supercars, wine etc. Some people know me for purchasing J.M. Basquiat’s $110 million painting,” he tweeted recently. In the same social media post, he announced his plans to fly around the moon in 2023 on the Starship rocket built by SpaceX, the space travel company led by the equally flamboyant tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. But there is something missing in Yusaku’s life—the love of a woman. The billionaire has begun his search for a female partner “to go to the moon with him”, and his quest seems deadly serious; the deadline for prospective candidate applications was 17 January, and “special dates getting to know Yusaku” begin mid-March, according to his website. The collector also plans to bring six to eight artists—which could include painters, sculptors and fashion designers—along on the ride (they will be asked to make a new work based on the experience when they return to Earth).

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 320 February 2020