For the first time in the U.K., we have a collection of work by the iconic Street Artist Keith Haring. More than that, it has found its way to the North of England at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool's famous Albert Dock.
Tate Liverpool at the Albert Dock
Keith Haring - Untitled - 1983
© Keith Haring Foundation
Due to the nature of owning my own business and the benefits that come with that i.e. a serious lack of free time, I very rarely get out to see shows. However, this was one I felt I had to visit. Indeed I'm not alone in that assessment as the gallery staff informed me that they had over 2000 visitors a day over the past weekend (they average 1500 - 1750 normally).
How good is the show? the short answer is - I loved it. It starts with a gentle introduction to Haring's graffiti style which iconised him as a New York based artist. If the largescale images of him sitting on the subway during the late seventies don't convince you of this then the crumpled Yellow Taxi cab bonnet which is covered in his signs and symbols certainly will. Haring iconises a period of history which for many years was labelled as bland and uninteresting but history now tells a different story. TV Shows like Stanger Things has revived interest in the eighties, the fashions, the music, and looking back it was an interesting time of cultural revolution with the LGBT community fighting back in numbers against prejudice and the growing HIV epidemic which took so many lives during that period. Indeed the show does delve into this topic with some videos of Haring's funeral and the work he carried out to raise awareness of Drugs and HIV.
An Original Keith Haring painting on Tarpaulin
My favourite painting from the Red Tent.
There are some 'wow' moments in this show, particularly the red tent which is pitched in the middle of the second room. It holds only four or five of Haring's paintings but the setting is simply wonderful, the lighting is UV blacklight and the walls are painted in red and yellow verticle stripes, in the background there is eighties music playing. The whole thing is a real sensory treat and works so well with the paintings they have displayed. The show excells with many of Haring's works - printed, original and sketches are all available to view, I found myself drawn into the large scale tarpaulin sheets that he had used as canvases. They look like they've been taken from a fairground as the edges all have metal eyelets spaced out at roughly 20 inches apart. The whole canvas must measure 7 foot by 7 foot maybe even 9 foot by 9 foot, and they come in a varitey of background colours.
The show takes place over three or four rooms, it's comprehensive, colourful, well-curated and the excellent staff are on hand to interject some helpful information, quotes or anecdotes from the artists life, his career, or generally on that period of time.
I loved this show, it was stunning, engaging, and Harings work is phenomenal. Liverpool is the right City to show this collection, it will resonate with the public and certainly does not feel out of place or time in the city.
A bit of a warning though, it is the last few weeks of the Keith Haring show at Tate Liverpool. Please if you haven't seen it yet, make the effort, it's most certainly worth it.
Keith Haring - The Matrix 1983. One of the Outstanding installations from the show. The sheer scale of this work is breathtaking.
All Images are mine. All opinions are my own and not De Lacey Fine Art's or any other company or body.Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool - G Farmer 2019 © Copyright