In honor of the installation of the ceiling from Keith Haring’s famous Pop Shop above the admissions area in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History, the New-York Historical Society, in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, has created a rotating display devoted to the Pop Shop in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture. The ceiling is a gift from the Haring Foundation, and all items in the Luce Center display are on loan from Foundation.
In 1986, internationally famed artist Keith Haring (1958-1990) opened the Pop Shop at 292 Lafayette Street. The following year, Haring collaborated with Japanese film producer Kaz Kuzui, and his American wife, film director Fran Rubel Kuzui on a Tokyo venue, in the Aoyama neighborhood.
The shop was made out of two shipping containers welded together to form one large room. While the shop was conceived very much in the image of its New York counterpart, many of the products were created by Haring to mirror Japan’s cultural traditions. Haring did extensive design work in Tokyo; fans and kimonos were manufactured in Kyoto, and rice bowl templates were painted and then produced in Nagoya. With speed and virtuosity, Haring began painting the interior of the shop on Wednesday, January 27, 1988 and finished the next day. The paint was still tacky on Friday, January 29 when he oversaw the installation of the displays in time for a press preview that evening. On Saturday, January 30, Pop Shop Tokyo opened to the public. However, sales were disappointing, and Haring noted “there are just too many Haring fakes available all over Tokyo and, this time, they’re really well done.” The shop closed in the summer of 1988.