Art For Everyone

Installation view of Keith Haring: Art is for Everyone at The Broad, LA. Photo by Joshua White for Artnet News.

As Pride month comes to a close, we wanted to make sure to spotlight the work of Queer artist Keith Haring, whose major retrospective opened at The Broad, LA earlier this month. Haring’s energetic line work and playful figures are a distinct expression of the 1980s streetscape- defined by the convergence of early hip-hop, graffiti culture, pop media, and the fluorescent lights of city nightlife.

The exhibition’s title, Art is for Everybody, reflects Haring’s democratic approach to art appreciation. The artist rejected the stuffy formality of galleries, instead leveraging the power of graffiti and print media in service of accessibility. Haring began his career by making a mark (pun intended) on the New York subway system, creating hundreds of drawings in white chalk on unused advertising panels.

Installation view of Art is for Everybody at The Broad, LA. The graphic print and T-shirts on the wall are an ode to Keith Haring’s Pop-Shop, which opened in soho in 1986. Photo by Dania Maxwell for the LA Times.
Interior view of Keith Haring’s Pop-Shop. Courtesy of The Keith Haring Foundation.

The Broad’s exhibition centers on Haring’s vast activism, with work touching on themes like nuclear disarmament, apartheid, and HIV/AIDS- the disease from which he died in 1990. In the period between his diagnosis in 1988 and his death, the artist incorporated even more vibrancy into his work, focusing on celebratory scenes of life, birth, and liberation. Red Room, one of his most important canvases of this period, displays a Guernica-esque clash of patterns and shapes, but foregrounds a stylish figure in repose who prioritizes enjoyment in the midst of chaos. A year before his passing, the artist established the Keith Haring Foundation with the aim of using his estate to support AIDS education, care, and prevention.

The exhibition is on in LA until October, when it will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. For our fellow Montrealers, a trip to Toronto to see this exuberant exhibition would be a great excuse for a mid-fall getaway!

Read more about Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Haring’s work, don’t hesitate to reach out

Happy Pride!

Keith Haring, Red Room, 1988, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 179 inches.
Installation view of Keith Haring: Art is for Everyone at the Broad, LA. Photo by Sophie L. for Secret Media.
Keith Haring, The King, 1989, Lithographic print, 23 x 29 inches, Ed of 50.
Keith Haring, Subway Drawing, 1983, White chalk on black paper, 44 x 33 inches.
Installation view of Keith Haring: Art is for Everyone at the Broad, LA. Photo by Micheal Juliano for Time Out.
Keith Haring, Untitled, 1982, Marker on spiral-bound book cover from 1982 exhibition catalog published by the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 9 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches. Courtesy of Taglialatella Galleries.
Keith Haring, Man, 1988, spraypaint and styrofoam, 36 1/2 x 22 x 11 3/10 inches.
Haring and his mural on the Berlin Wall. Photo courtesy of The Keith Haring Foundation.

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