He was inspired by graffiti, comic strips, music, dance, ‘high’ art and popular culture, and developed a wholly distinctive visual style. With one hundred and twenty artworks from international collections, the exhibition highlights in detail the social and political aspects of this world-famous artist’s life’s work.
Artist and activist
In the 1980s, Keith Haring was a leading figure in New York’s downtown community, which took its creativity from urban street culture. It was the era of Reagan’s conservatism, and the overtly homosexual Keith Haring made it his personal mission to highlight social injustices through art.
Art is for everybody.
In his work, Haring took a clear stance against the excesses of capitalism and he was committed to nuclear disarmament, environmental protection, the struggle against AIDS and equal rights for all. He had a tremendous influence on his generation, and although his career spanned just a single decade, the effect of his visual language is none the less for it. His rhythmic lines and patterns express his enormous zest for life.
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Impressive and visually powerful
Keith Haring’s artworks are impressive and create a visual spectacle; from his early ‘subway drawings’ – his first public works in New York metro stations – and large-scale paintings on canvas and vinyl tarps, to his numerous works on paper, miscellaneous objects and sculptures. Together with diary excerpts and other archival and documentary material, the thematic collection of artworks in ‘The Political Line’ illustrates just how committed Keith Haring was to addressing the complex issues of his day. Remarkably, his first exhibition outside of the USA took place in Rotterdam in 1982. In 2015, twenty-five years after Haring’s death, this Kunsthal exhibition is a testament to the fact that his art is as influential today as it ever was.
The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich, guest curator Dr Dieter Buchhart and the Keith Haring Foundation in New York. ‘The Political Line' is based on an exhibition of the same name held at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Le Centquatre (2013) and the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco (2014, de Young Museum). Exclusively for the Kunsthal, this exhibition has been supplemented with material about Haring's visits to the Netherlands.
The exhibition catalogue ‘Keith Haring. The Political Line’ explores the artist’s involvement with politics, urban street culture, the art world and pop culture. The English edition is on sale at the Kunsthal gift shop for € 64. ISBN 978-3-7913-5410-1.
The Dutch-language exhibition catalogue ‘Keith Haring. The Political Line', published to coincide with the exhibition of the same name at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, was produced in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation in New York and the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich. The publication explores the artist's involvement with politics, urban street culture, the art world and pop culture. With over 200 reproductions, photographic series by Haring's friend and photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, four essays that examine the political aspects of Haring's art, and interviews with people who knew the artist well, this catalogue provides an intimate yet expansive look at Haring's life, work and political convictions.
The catalogue is on sale at the Kunsthal gift shop for EUR 34.50. ISBN 978-3-7913-5462-0.
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