Keith Haring : A Summer with Jean-Michel Basquiat
Keith Haring
A Summer with Jean-Michel Basquiat
Moca Lyon, March 3, 2008
Keith Haring_Wall
Keith Haring_Wall


Recognized as one of the great artists of the 1980s, Keith Haring is above all an emblematic figure, constantly linking the art world of his time to the world of the street, and to the widest and most diverse public. Keith Haring was born in America in 1958 (he would have been 50 in 2008). Before becoming a painter he studied commercial arts. He began by drawing on the walls of the subway, then finally had exhibitions in several prominent New York galleries such as Tony Shafrazi and Leo Castelli. In 1984 he started developing a colourful set of symbols related to the world of the media. His art stood out because of its synthetic forms outlined in black. Apart from this easily identifiable graphic style, his great popularity can also be explained by his predilection for unorthodox and universally accessible supports: the subway, city walls and streetlamps, all the way up to the multiples that he sold from his own shop.

Keith Haring with Jean-Michel Basquiat
Keith Haring with Jean-Michel Basquiat


The retrospective will be set out in a deliberately nonchronological sequence. The artist's short career, spanning the years from 1980 to 1990, is viewed as a whole. Like Keith Haring in his own work, filling the canvas, putting his art in the most unexpected places, covering even objects and bodies, the exhibition will take over the museum, taking possession of the spaces in order to immerse visitors in the colourful, dynamic and teeming world of this artist.

Keith Haring_Free South Africa
Keith Haring_Free South Africa


Keith Haring_Red, Yellow, Blue 21
Keith Haring_Red, Yellow, Blue 21


It comprehensively deploys Haring's practice, including its essential paintings on tarpaulin and its monumental paintings (including the canvas made in 1987 for the Casino at Knokke-le-Zoute). 

Most of all, though, it allows visitors to discover the extraordinary diversity of the supports and media that Haring used so freely - vinyl paint, acrylic enamel paint, chalk, ink, felt pen, on canvas, metal, paper, wood and even the human body (including that of Grace Jones in 1985).

Keith Haring_Show Sculpture
Keith Haring_Show Sculpture


A big ensemble of more than a hundred drawings reveals the diversity of Haring's graphic world and the directness of his style, expressing sincerity and passion by means of a continuous and consummate line. The influence of classical art is manifest here, as is that of African, Asian and South American cultures.

Keith Haring_Show Sculpture
Keith Haring_Show Sculpture


Keith Haring_San Sebastian, 1984
Keith Haring_San Sebastian, 1984


The exhibition conveys Haring's open, cultivated mind, as manifested in his formally diverse works nourished by his encounters, readings and the places discovered on his travels.

Keith Haring and Julia, 1986
Keith Haring and Julia, 1986


Whether on relatively classical supports (canvas, paper, metal, etc.) or more unexpected ones, such as the BMW, also presented in the exhibition (“Original Keith Haring Object Z1”, 1990), beyond the apparent gaiety of the images we are aware of Haring's interest in the big issues of the day: AIDS, drugs, the power of money, etc. For Haring worked at the heart of everyday life.

Keith Haring_Untitled, 1982
Keith Haring_Untitled, 1982


Keith Haring_Untitled, 1982
Keith Haring_Untitled, 1982


There are, too, moments of questioning and revolt: the apocalyptic visions and monstrous creatures in his work transcribe the scourges of the modern world, such as the nuclear threat and the AIDS virus, and heighten the intensity of his very personal iconography.

Never before seen by the general public, the series of paintings on fences are highlight of the show, as are the “Subway Drawings” (some only as photographs, the originals having sadly been destroyed). This exceptional ensemble, made on a construction site fence in New York, shows the artist's powerful need to occupy urban space and to break free of the cultural milieu and the art market.

Keith Haring_Untitled, 1984
Keith Haring_Untitled, 1984


In the same vein, and specially reinstalled for the exhibition, his astonishing “Pop Shop Tokyo” (1985) illustrates his desire to make art accessible to all and surrounds us from floor to ceiling with the incredible shop where he could make his work directly available to the general public.

Keith Haring_Portrait of Macho Camacho, 1985
Keith Haring_Portrait of Macho Camacho, 1985


Keith Haring_AFP
Keith Haring_AFP


To complete this teeming ensemble - to which must be added the monumental sculptures - projections and an exceptional series of photographs shed light on the production of Haring's work. 

A video entitled “Haring ALL OVER” closes the exhibition. The film, shown on several screens, presents tributes to the artist as well as interviews never shown before. These images take visitors to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Paris, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Antwerp, Knokke-le-Zoute and Monaco, where Haring made interventions in public space. The itinerary ends in Pisa, where the artist made his last mural painting, “Tuttomondo”, only a few months before his death.

Keith Haring_Blueprint Drawings, 1990
Keith Haring_Blueprint Drawings, 1990


Keith Haring with hat
Keith Haring with hat


Through June 29, 2008

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