Artist ‘coming out’ in public show

     (NWPR-OH) –As a beaming light for his words, “The public has a right to art. Art is for everybody,” he painted his last work in June 1989, a mural titled, “Tuttomondo,” on the outside rear wall of the convent of the Church of Sant’ Antonio in Pisa. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania on May 4, 1958, Keith Haring lived and worked as well as openly loved without barriers in New York, where he died on February 16, 1990 of AIDS related complications.

     Opening Friday, February 25 at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, “Keith Haring: 1978-1982” is an exhibition that focuses on a period of time when Haring was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, started his studio practice, including creating on the city streets his style of public and political art.

     The works to be on view, mainly on paper and videos will highlight those of less known, but on the other hand explains the artist’s creative reasoning for their visual vocabulary. Influenced by Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Alechinsky, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, William Burroughs as well as Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney; Haring also reveals his multi-faceted academic sides: the philosopher, the thinker and the entrepreneurialism which gave rise to his iconographic developments of geometric shapes to comic-inspired storyboard works of art.

     Like most creative geniuses, artist Haring was no different when it comes to the financial. He said, “I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price. My shop is an extension of what I was doing in the subway stations, breaking down the barriers between high and low art.” Also included in the exhibit, are drawings and sketchbooks, videos, flyers, posters, photographs and subway drawings, as well as word collages, texts and diaries.

One of three of Haring's sculpture formerly in the plaza of Lever House, New York City.

     As Haring began to advance, his work depicted such pop social and political themes from the crack cocaine epidemic, AIDS awareness and anti-Apartheid. A few of other recognized artworks by him were born from such products: Coca-Cola, Absolut Vodka and Lucky Strike cigarettes. In addition to his own exhibitions in the US and beyond, he is attributed to the 1987 design for the cover of “A Very Special Christmas” album that benefits the Special Olympics, and among others, he created a public mural at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn.

     Originally painted in 1982, artist Haring’s most famous mural was on the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery in New York City. As homage, a facsimile of this work was repainted and exhibited for a year during 2008-09. Following his diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, a year later he formed the Keith Haring Foundation, with a platform to market his works in order to provide funding for AIDS organizations and children’s programs.


     Having accomplished much in his 31 years, his art and like another of his philosophical thoughts, “The only way art lives is through the experience of the observer. The reality of art begins with the eyes of the beholder, through imagination, invention and confrontation,” proves if one continuously beats down the barriers of injustice, they will achieve as Henry David Thoreau said: “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of the arts.”

     For more information, see or you are encouraged to call Curator Raphaela Platow directly at 513.345.8400. The exhibit will remain on view through September 5.

Published by on January 2011. Filed under AAMG Cover Section, Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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