Radiant Babies and Subway Drawings: See Keith Haring's Early Artwork From the Brooklyn Museum Retrospective

Keith Haring's "Untitled," 1982, sumi ink on paper
(© Keith Haring Foundation)

WHAT: Keith Haring 1978-1982

WHEN: March 16-July 8, Wednesday, Friday-Sunday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Thursday 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., first Saturday of each month 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

WHERE: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York

WHY THIS SHOW MATTERS: Crack is still wack. Remember that when you visit the first large-scale exhibition to highlight Keith Haring’s early career, featuring a selection from his iconic political and playful repertoire, organized by the Brooklyn Musuem. The museum amassed 155 works on paper and more than 150 archival objects, along with experimental videos, sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings, and documentary photographs to bring to light the evolution of Haring’s neo-primitive style and massive cultural influence. Painstakingly delicate geometric renderings, like those shown at Gladstone Gallery’s 2011 exhibition, as well as the “Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks” (1978), will be shown alongside humorous ephemera like the artist’s Mudd Club I.D. The pass into the downtown punk scene’s “Mudd College of Deviant Behavior” states in the fine print, “Falsification of any statements made herein is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both,” and sports Haring’s “frontal view” headshot, adorned with orange eyeglasses. An “Untitled Journal Drawings” from 1977 skillfully traps a single blue “o” in an entire page of impeccable bright-red letter patterns. The show is a testament to the artist’s dedicated career, which bridged underground activism, connected a massive network of artists, and helped define a period in the history of New York’s vibrant bohemian culture.  

Click on the slide show to see artwork and ephemera from the exhibition.