From 03 February 1994 to 30 April 1994
Curated by Germano Celant
Keith Haring (Kuntztown, Pennsylvania, 1958 – New York, 1990) develops a story through images, creating highly recognizable graphic signs. Themes such as oppression, homosexuality, love and pleasure are addressed with an inventive, ironic language borrowed from the mass-media, the decoding of which can be shared by the entire community. Starting out as a leading figure in the American youth counterculture that expressed itself through graffiti, he soon became a prominent interpreter of international art trends. Haring assigned a primary role to art executed out in public spaces, beginning with drawings in white plaster on black paper that covered up expired advertising posters in the New York City subway.
The exhibition covers the entire activity of this American artist, from his beginnings in the early ‘Eighties to the initial months of 1990. The exhibited works, numbering about one hundred, attest to Haring’s variegated creativity. In the drawings made using marking pens on paper, the artist develops his personal vocabulary that shows traces of the graphics and narrative layout typical of comics. In these works he creates the images that will become a constant element of his poetics, such as the crawling human figure, the dog, the man and the heart, strongly stylized and “radiant,” as if endowed with an inner energy.
Haring also intervenes with his sign on vases and plaster statues, covering them with fluorescent colors, similar to neo-tribal decorations, in a continuous attempt to attribute new functions to painting and sculpture. For his paintings, Haring chooses non-canonical supports such as specially made vinyl canvases, similar to the large tarpaulins that cover truck trailers, vividly colored and with symbols that allude to western mass culture, such as the computer, the dollar sign and the television.