A new exhibition titled Keith Haring: The Political Line has its US premiere at the de Young museum in San Francisco and is the first major Haring show on the West Coast in nearly two decades. Many of the works are on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation, New York, with supplemental loans from public and private collections. Several pieces have not been published or on public view since the artist’s death, in 1990.
The Political Line will feature more than 130 works, including large-scale paintings on tarpaulins and canvases, sculptures, and a number of the artist’s subway drawings. The exhibition creates a narrative that explores Haring’s responses to nuclear proliferation, racial inequality, the excesses of capitalism, environmental degradation, and other issues of deep personal concern.
Haring’s work has long been a part of San Francisco’s visual culture. He created works for diverse venues in San Francisco during his lifetime, including murals for DV8, a club once located in the South of Market neighborhood, and a huge, multi-panel painting for the South of Market Childcare Center (also known as the Saint Patrick’s Daycare Center). Haring’s outdoor sculpture Untitled (Three Dancing Figures) (1989), located at Third and Howard Streets, is a prominent feature of Moscone Convention Center, and his triptych altarpiece The Life of Christ (1990) is installed in the AIDS Chapel at Grace Cathedral.
Haring fought tirelessly in his work and personal life to end the AIDS epidemic. He established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989 and enlisted his imagery during the last years of his life to speak about his own illness and generate activism and awareness about AIDS. By the time of his death, at age 31, he had achieved international fame. His influence on his own generation and those that have followed is a testament to his enduring vision.
Keith Haring: The Political Line – de Young museum in San Francisco – NOVEMBER 8, 2014–FEBRUARY 16, 2015 • HERBST EXHIBITION GALLERIES