In this exhibition, we reexamine the art of Keith Haring in 360 degrees.
In the early 1980s, Haring started drawing with chalk on blank advertising spaces in the New York subway system. With the Subway Drawings, he quickly rose to fame. Since his first solo show in 1981, his self-curated exhibitions extended not only in galleries but also clubs and theaters. At the same time, he managed to elevate his status as an artist through participating in large-scale international art fairs such as Documenta 7 (1982) and Venice Biennale (1984). Even after 30 years since his death at the mere age of 31, his popularity is still prominent to this day. Contrary to the widely known impression of his work’s simple and uplifting nature, his artwork is often about children, anti-war/anti-nuclear power, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, and anti-HIV/AIDS-stigma. Haring did not restrict his vision spatially or temporally. He looked at the world from many different angles, such as his deep understanding of art history and fascination with technology.
The highlight of this exhibition is a sculpture, Untitled (Figure Balancing on Dog), 1989.The raw aluminum oeuvre shines subtly, distinct to his other sculpture works in vivid colors. Just walk around and take a look at the piece.The two-dimensional shapes made into figures popping out of a flat surface appear differently depending on the angle. It may appear to be a figure just having fun riding a dog, or as the title suggests, trying to balance on a dog.The balancing figure and the dog may signify the human-animal cohabitation on earth or the fear of the unknown in society.
In this exhibition, for the first time, documentary photography by artist and journalist Makoto Murata is on display. Murata photographed Haring throughout NewYork City from December 1982 to January 1983.
The exhibition includes a paint-on-tarpaulin work, Untitled KH.200 (1982/The Museum of Art, Kochi), mural works painted with close to 500 children, MyTown and Peace I-IV (1987/Tama City Cultural Foundation), and the latest addition to our collection, a six-lithograph-series, Bad Boys (1986).
Untitled (KH.200), 1982, The Museum of Art, Kochi