Keith Haring makes it look so easy – especially in his video Painting Myself Into A Corner. I had always wondered what medium he used to paint that was so fluid and smooth. The answer: sumi ink (have to go get some!). He used a variety of other materials including acrylic, spray enamel, pencil, color pencil, felt tip, day-glo, newspaper headlines, xerox and video. Even though he was only 20 years old in 1978, his work shows great confidence and self-assuredness. Stylistically he work is friendly, not intimidating. And according to the curators, making art accessible to the public was one of his fundamental beliefs.
The main gallery is where I spent the most time. It includes his journals, the 50-foot(?) long Matrix, 1983 and most of my favorite works (list below). In the small middle room are the slide show, two videos and photographs of Keith’s friends and parties. In the last room are his Subway paintings and the very tall Everybody Knows Where Meat Comes From… hanging scroll. Off to the side of the Subway gallery is a small room equipped with electronic Boogie Boards where visitors can try their hand at drawing.
There are lots of the highlights (for me):
- Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks, 1978, graphite on paper, numbered
- Glory Hole, 1980, sumi ink, spray enamel, acrylic on posterboard
- Floor-to-ceiling wall of xeroxed exhibition flyers
- Everybody Knows Where Meat Comes From, It Comes From the Store, June 4, 1978, sumi ink, tempera on paper, Collection Tony Shafrazi
- Reshuffled headlines from the New York Post, 1980
- Slide show of Subway Posters, photos by Tseng Kwong Chi
- Gallery with three cases of Keith Haring’s journals – a page-a-day to be posted on the Keith Haring Foundation’s tumblr.
I heard that the opening reception was mobbed but attendance on Saturday (the second day of the exhibit) was not crowded at all, making it easy to view and enjoy the art. The exhibit is open through July 8 – don’t miss it! For those not able to get to New York, I hope you get a feel for the exhibit through my photos below.
Check out the Brooklyn Museum’s Egyptian collection on the 3rd floor, where I found a possible ancient predecessor of Keith Haring. There’s also a mini-exhibit in the back called Body Parts.
All photographs copyright Shungaboy 2012. The copyright of Keith Haring’s art and other subjects of my photographs belong to their respective copyright owners. THANK YOU to the Keith Haring Foundation and the Brooklyn Museum for allowing photographs to be taken in this exhibit. The Brooklyn Museum is worthy of your support, so please pay the full admission price. However, if you can’t afford it, don’t let that stop you from going. It is a suggested admission, so you may pay what you can.
Related post: Keith Haring Bathroom Restored