Keith Haring’s Early Years at the Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring, one of the most revered and adored artists of the 21st century, moved to New York in 1978 at the gutsy age of 19. He quickly made a name for himself chalking up subways, commandeering found objects and turning out murals in his now signature aesthetic of simplified line drawings of animals, humans and sex organs—highly sexualized but stripped of their luridness. His Radiant Baby pictograph soon became an icon of pop art. Opening today at the Brooklyn Museum, Keith Haring: 1978–1982 explores this early period in the artist’s career.

On display are: the first video Haring ever made, a self-portrait that shows him literally painting himself into a corner with Devo playing in the background, and his journals that document, among other minutiae, his daily budgets, such as a bank deposit of 11 cents. We will also see photocopied exhibition flyers, examples of his first street art, collaborations with artist friends like Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and nearly 155 works on paper, which include a sketch of the World Trade Center shaped from two penises.

Though Haring passed away over two decades ago from AIDS-related complications, his legacy is still very much alive in New York City. This exhibition, on view through July 8, 2012, reminds us why.

Visit Keith Haring: 1978-1982 at the Brooklyn Museum

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