Keith Haring exhibit in Paris (photo essay)

I finally got a chance to go to the Keith Haring exhibit that’s just finishing up tomorrow at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.  I’ve been meaning to go for a while, but since I’m working full time while I’m here, it’s hard to find an afternoon free.  Today, being the weekend, was one such afternoon.

A short blurb on Haring, who was (quite openly) gay, from Wikipedia:

Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s by expressing concepts of birth, death and war. Haring’s imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century.

The exhibit was rather huge, and devoted to looking at Haring’s politics and its influence on his art.  With a number of quite large pieces.  It also included some sculpture, a few vases, and even a modern chair.  I didn’t realize that Haring did anything other than the large paintings/drawings.

The works were presented in chronological order, which was interesting to see since in his final years – knowing he was dying from complications associated with AIDS, Haring’s work became rather frenetic, much more complicated, and angrier, than before (IMHO).

The paintings below aren’t in any particular order.  But it’s a pretty good guess the super complicated ones are his later works.  And I took some of the photos in a quasi-b/w – my own interpretation of Haring’s work, though most of the ones I took in b/w I also included in color.





I loved this chair.





I loved the variety of media that he used, or art forms that he created, including this screen.




This is a steel girder.



Fluorescent paint viewed with black lighting.

mermaid-bw-ish haring-bw-split

haring-free-south-africa red-haring-bw red-haring


This and the one below are some of Haring’s latest, and last, works. You can tell the difference in the frenzy, detail, and I think anger.


This work is actually in black and white, it’s not just my photo.


One of Haring’s earlier works, promoting gay rights. The pink triangle was a ubiquitous symbol of our movement in the 1980s and early 90s, until the rainbow took over.


Unfinished work.

Unfinished work, or so it was labeled.


Note how huge this piece really is – I intentionally left the guy in on the right, sitting down.


I thought it was interesting that Haring created vases too, or at least painted on them.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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8 Responses to “Keith Haring exhibit in Paris (photo essay)”

  1. Steven says:

    I was in high school in the mid 80s and owned three Swatches that he designed as well as a Radiant Baby hoodie that I asked a friend to pick up for me in NY at the Pop Shop when she visited. Yes, I was a small town gay boy in northwest Georgia, but I knew my Keith Haring. It’s great to see that his work is as vibrant as ever and even more appreciated now, more than 20 years after his untimely death.

  2. Hard to say. They called it unfinished.

  3. Ha! It was an excellent exhibit. The rooms themselves were amazing, large, and perfect for the artwork.

  4. Kim_Kaufman says:

    Also, I’ve seen a lot of Keith Haring stuff but this looks like a really well curated exhibit. Or at least John’s photos of it are well curated. :)

  5. Kim_Kaufman says:

    Are you sure that “unfinished work” was unfinished? I like it just the way it is.

  6. judybrowni says:

    I was living in NYC when the original Keith Haring graffitti began appearing all over the city: the baby with slashes radiating out.

    It was before he became famous, it was why he became famous. For some reason that image was so different from all the other graffitti, so striking it caught your attention.

    Like BeccaM below “it made you think.”

    Public art.

  7. BeccaM says:

    I’m not normally into modern art — I prefer realism in my paintings, but that’s just me — but damn. I love art that makes me think, and this stuff really does it.

    I could easily look at it for hours…

    Thanks, John, for the visual feast.

  8. karmanot says:

    Breathtaking—-those latter paintings just extraordinary.

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