The barking dog, the baby, the dancing figures — Keith Haring’s artwork is instantly familiar.
According to The Keith Haring Foundation, early in his career Haring became interested in the idea of bringing his art to as many people as possible. From 1980 to 1985, his chalk drawings in New York’s subway stations reached out to the general public. Then in 1986, Haring opened Pop Shop, a New York store that sold T-shirts and other merchandise featuring his artwork. Even after he died from complications related to AIDS in 1990, the store continued until 2005.
Yet Haring had achieved his goal of making his art more available to the public.
On March 6-10, 2013, Haring Miami displays over 200 of Haring’s works at the Moore Building in the Design District. In an email interview with SFGN, Reed V. Horth, creative director for Haring Miami, discussed stand-out pieces at the exhibit, Haring’s contributions to the LGBT community, and the public’s connection with his work.
Please share why Keith Haring was selected for this exhibit.
Keith Haring is an icon and one of the most recognizable artists of the 20th Century. His stream-of-conscious impromptu style defined what we think of as quintessentially 1980s.
If you grew up watching MTV around the world, Keith was an ever-present force. Further, his close associations with other 1980s icons in art, television and music, such as Madonna, Andy Warhol, Ann Magnuson, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, brought an extraordinary spectrum of people to his work.
He inspired many of the favorite icons of the Miami art scene as well, including Romero Britto and Stephen Gamson. Haring is a natural choice to inspire a new generation of artists, dancers, thinkers and kids in Miami and around the world.
What will be a few of the stand-out works on display at Haring Miami?
We have a six-foot tall example of a triple tag of the “Radiant Baby” (acrylic on a tarp) in green on a yellow field. It is spectacular. Beyond this, we have many of Haring’s other iconic images: TV Heads, angels, self-portraits, dancers, UFOs, hearts, and erotica. Among the best pieces in the show, we have a fantastic red dog playing DJ with a group of floating dancing blue men (acrylic on a tarp). What I think will impress people most about this collection is the sheer scale of the works, some nearly eight-feet tall and equally as wide.
Haring’s contributions to the LGBT community?
[Haring] made no secret of his sexual orientation from the outset and embraced it publicly, which was something many people were not doing in the early 1980s.
Haring was a vocal advocate for safe sex in the 1980s both before and after his diagnosis with AIDS in 1988. In 1989, he established a Foundation to provide funding for AIDS research and worked as a tireless activist speaking to groups about his own illness and expanding awareness. He also painted a mural in what is now known as the Keith Haring Bathroom, [at the LGBT Community Center in NYC] which celebrated the life, sex and joy of being a gay man in the 1980s. What may have seemed a somber subject in 1989, particularly for Keith, was turned into a visual song of renewed faith and the vibrancy of life.
Why do you think the public connects to Haring’s work?
[F]or the first time, the public felt like they had the jump on the museums and galleries of the world. They knew something that the “art establishment” had not figured out. This thumbing the nose at “The Man” was rampant and liberating in the 1980s. We all craved the type of freedom that Haring represented in his images. This is why so many emulate his work now, here and abroad.
If you go to Haring Miami 2013
VIP Opening Night: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 7, 2013 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 8, 2013 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 9, 2013 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 10, 2013 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
The Moore Building
4040 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33137
March 6, 2013 VIP, Opening Night Tickets: $250.00
March 7 -10, 2013 Tickets: $25.00
For more information:
Additional Resource: Artsy's Keith Haring page