Keith Haring: Untitled, 1982. Collection Keith Haring Foundation. © Keith Haring Foundation

Work / What's On

Career-defining retrospective of Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Musuem

We mentioned this at the beginning of the year as one of the shows to look out for and it is finally here (so someone buy my kidney quick and I can fly over). Keith Haring: 1978- 1982 at the Brooklyn Museum is the first large-scale show to creatively profile one of the most “iconic and innovative artists of the late twentieth century as his formidable talents emerged.”

What he drew and what drew people to him was the public nature both of where he positioned himself and his art in the environment, and the content. It was bold, happy-like and so graphically different from the graffiti styles of the day. He was also a personal friend to many other important artists working in New York at that time, like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf and this exhibition aims to explore Haring’s relationships, both to these other artists and to the public. They are important to understanding and contextualising a lot of the personal initiatives behind Haring’s work, the greatest of which was offering art to the people, outside of a gallery environment.


Keith Haring: Self-Portrait with Glasses Painted by Kenny Scharf, circa 1980. Collection Keith Haring Foundation. © Keith Haring Foundation

Emphasis is also being placed on Haring’s evolution, from historical and cultural influences through to the development of his iconic vernacular, barking dogs, UFOs, a crawling baby, much of which is sourced from Haring’s own journals that describe his working mind and “meticulously documented his aesthetic discoveries” – the pages of which are being posted daily onto a best-tumblr-ever created by the Keith Haring Foundation.

Expect era-defining, unpretentious artwork, flyers for his curatorial endeavours for performances and exhibitions, subway drawings, little-known films and unseen works from the time it took him to leave Pennsylvania and enter the downtown scene in New York, and the public consciousness.


Keith Haring: Untitled, 1980. Collection Keith Haring Foundation. © Keith Haring Foundation


Keith Haring: Untitled, ca. 1980-1985. Private Collection, NYC. © Keith Haring Foundation


Keith Haring: Untitled, 1981. Collection Keith Haring Foundation. © Keith Haring Foundation


Keith Haring: Journal page

Keith Haring: 1978 – 1982 is now showing at the Brooklyn Museum until July 8.