New-York Historical’s Rotating Display of Keith Haring's Artwork and Artifacts to Focus on His Advocacy for Books and Reading, September 18, 2012 - January 13, 2013
New York, NY, August 30, 2012 – In 1986, internationally famed artist Keith Haring (1958-1990) opened the Pop Shop in downtown Manhattan at 292 Lafayette Street, where he displayed and sold affordable clothing and other items bearing images he had created. Following the artist’s untimely death, the Keith Haring Foundation donated the ceiling of the Pop Shop to the New-York Historical Society, where the work, with its bold and lively design, now hovers above the admissions area.
In honor of the generosity of this donation, and in recognition of the significant role that Keith Haring played in New York City’s artistic, political and social culture, New-York Historical is collaborating with the Foundation in installing a rotating display of works by and about the artist in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture. All objects on view in the rotating display are on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation Archive.
The latest of these displays to be installed, on view from September 18, 2012 through January 13, 2013, reflects on Keith Haring’s contributions to education, in particular his work in encouraging young people to read. On view will be posters, drawings and T-shirt designs by Haring, photographs by Adam Scull and Tseng Kwong Chi documenting the official launch of a Haring-designed campaign of public service advertisements, newspaper articles, a television interview with Haring, and one of the artist’s journals.
As Haring wrote in his journal, “There is nothing that makes me happier than making a child smile…. The reason the ‘baby’ has become my logo or signature is that it is the purest and most positive experience of human existence.”
In this spirit, Haring offered his services for education projects throughout the 1980s. In 1985 he created the poster for New York is Book Country, the annual book fair held on Fifth Avenue in support of the Children’s Services Division of the New York Public Library. In 1988 he was asked to create a poster for the New York area library campaign Reading for Fun. Five thousand copies of the poster he designed were distributed throughout the subway system. Many were promptly removed by the artist’s fans, who brought them to the Pop Shop to be autographed.
Haring had come to attention in the early 1980s with the subway drawings that were his first major public project. Done on temporarily unused advertising wallboards, these drawings were officially considered to be defacements of public property, and Haring was on occasion arrested by transit police in the act of creating them. At the official launch of the reading campaign, held on March 29, 1988 at the 68 Street–Hunter College / Lexington Avenue subway station, MTA officials looked on approvingly as Haring signed posters. “This is great” he said. "It’s come full circle.”
About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; and the 2009 exhibition Lincoln and New York. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs are one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.