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Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Contemporary Arts Center Presents Keith Haring: 1978–1982

The Contemporary Arts Center presents Keith Haring: 1978–1982 on view through September 5, 2011.

Keith Haring ranks among the most iconic, influential and popular artists in the world. Nearly twenty years after his death, the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC)—along with co-organizer Kunsthalle Wien—presents a groundbreaking exhibition that explores the vibrant and experimental years of his early career.

Keith Haring, “Untitled,” 1980. © Keith Haring Foundation

The show traces the development of Haring’s visual vocabulary and includes rarely seen—and many never-before exhibited—drawings and sketchbooks, journals, videos, flyers, posters, photographs and subway drawings, as well as word collages, texts, and diaries. Keith Haring: 1978–1982 chronicles the artist’s arrival in New York City from his native Pennsylvania and his immersion in New York’s dynamic downtown scene. The exhibition peers into this crucial time when Haring started a diligent and vigorous studio practice, began making public and political art on the city streets and enjoyed an exhilarating social life. This is also the period when he enrolled at the School of Visual Arts and quickly befriended fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, as well as many of the most innovative musicians, poets, performance artists and graffiti writers of the period. These relationships play a role in the exhibition, as many of the items on view reveal Haring’s role as a prolific facilitator of group exhibitions and performances, and his untiring pursuit of new strategies and channels for distributing his art to the people. Examining both Haring’s street art and studio practice, as well as his distribution techniques, the show positions Haring on an art historical timeline that later includes Shepard Fairey, Rosson Crow, SWOON and others.

CAC Director and curator of Keith Haring: 1978–1982, Raphaela Platow, explains “Curating this show was exciting because it delves into aspects of Haring’s life and production that have received little attention to date: the development of his own unique style and language and his thoughtful approach and philosophy of what it means to be an artist.” Julia Gruen, executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation and Haring’s former studio manager, adds, “Both the concept and content of this exhibition are incredibly important if one is to understand the origins of Haring’s practice and visual vocabulary. Many of the included works come from our extensive archive and have never before been exhibited. These materials serve to broaden the public’s understanding of a celebrated and influential, but frequently misunderstood, artist.”

Focusing strictly on the early years, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the artist’s manifold maturing process. In doing so, Keith Haring: 1978–1982 offers the public a chance to view Haring, and his work, in a new light.

Curated by Raphaela Platow, Alice & Harris Weston Director and Chief Curator, Contemporary Arts Center. Co-organized by the Contemporary Arts Center and Kunsthalle Wien.

The Contemporary Arts Center gratefully acknowledges the sponsors who have made this exhibition possible:
James A. and Mary Miller
Allan Berliant and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant; Susan and Bill Friedlander
Public Art Projects: The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation
ArtsWave Corporate Partner: P&G

The Playlist
Scott Ewalt curated a selection of music the artist enjoyed between 1978 and 1982 to accompany the exhibition. In the section of the exhibition entitled “Subway Drawings” visitors can watch slides of Haring’s subway art while listening to these songs play on a loop. The playlist can be found on iTunes.

The Catalogue
A catalogue was published to accompany this exhibition and can be purchased online through the CAC Store.

Venue Information and Dates

About the Contemporary Arts Center
Founded in November 1939 as the Modern Art Society by three visionary women in Cincinnati, the Contemporary Arts Center was one of the first institutions in the U.S. dedicated to exhibiting the art of our time. In May 2003, the CAC relocated to its first free-standing home, the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, designed by Zaha Hadid. Throughout its distinguished history, the CAC has earned a reputation for stimulating thought and introducing new ideas by presenting the work of diverse artists from around the world, including hundreds of now-famous artists such as Laurie Anderson, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Nam June Paik, I.M. Pei, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. The CAC focuses on new developments in painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, performance art and new media, presenting six to 12 exhibitions and over 20 performances annually. The CAC receives ongoing support from: Fine Arts Fund; Ohio Arts Council; The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, City of Cincinnati Arts Grant Recipient; The National Endowment for the Arts; the generous contributions and grants of individuals, corporations and other foundations; CAC memberships, facility rentals, special events and sales from the CAC Store.

Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art
44 East 6th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio

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