This is the first major exhibition in the UK of American artist Keith Haring (1958–1990) whose politically charged works played a key part in his generation's counterculture.
The exhibition brings together more than 85 works exploring a broad range of the artist’s practice including large-scale drawings and paintings, most of which have never been seen in the UK.
A unique presence in 1980s New York, Haring was best known for his iconic motifs, such as barking dogs, crawling babies and flying saucers. As an openly gay man, his work as an AIDS activist and educator remains his most essential legacy. Elsewhere, he responded to equally critical and relevant issues, contributing to nuclear disarmament campaigns, creating a famed Crack is Wack mural, and designing anti-apartheid posters.
His singular, seemingly spontaneous style, was animated by the energies of his era; from space travel and robotics to video games. The exhibition evokes the style and spirit of the time in rarely seen archival documents, video and photographs while Haring’s immersive ‘black light’ installation from 1982 presents fluorescent works under UV light accompanied by hip-hop music.
He frequently collaborated with Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat who shared his desire to unite high art and popular culture. The exhibition also sheds light on the performative nature of Haring’s work, from his live chalk drawings on the New York subway to working with artist and photographer Tseng Kwong Chi who documented Haring’s practice. Haring also collaborated with Madonna, Grace Jones, Vivienne Westwood, and Malcolm McLaren, making sets and designs for videos and performances.