New Exhibition Celebrating 80s Pop Art Icon Keith Haring Opens November 1st at Naples Art

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On Monday, November 1st, NAPLES ART opens its season with one of the most exciting Pop art exhibitions to arrive in Southwest Florida in years. Keith Haring: Radiant Vision

On Monday, November 1st, NAPLES ART opens its season with one of the most exciting Pop art exhibitions to arrive in Southwest Florida in years. Keith Haring: Radiant Vision (November 1, 2021 – February 6, 2022) celebrates the world-renowned artist and his iconography in an energized show of more than 130 works.

From his street art to gallery shows, the Pop Shop, and his commercial work, Keith Haring: Radiant Vision spans the arc of Haring’s all too short career, featuring lithographs, silkscreens, drawings on paper, and posters from a private collection.

Haring’s art was born in response to the urban street scene of 1980s New York. He took inspiration from the graffiti artists’ markings on the city subway cars and started to draw figures in white chalk over the black paper used to cover vacant advertising panels in the subway stations. Two of these seminal chalk-on-paper subway drawings are included in Keith Haring: Radiant Vision.    

Signature Haring images, such as Radiant Baby, Barking Dog and Best Buddies, are instantly recognizable as the emblems from the 80s that Haring used to depict universal themes such as love, birth, death, and war.     

“Haring was an extremely productive and prolific artist, who devoted his career to advocating for democratizing art,” NAPLES ART Executive Director and Chief Curator Frank Verpoorten said. “Like some of the artists who inspired him, such as Pierre Alechinsky, Paul Klee, and Jean Dubuffet, Haring’s work, with its free-form, expressive, and spontaneous iconography, promotes a unique understanding for the universal aspects of the human experience. I find the humanity in Haring’s work inspirational, and something our society needs a dose of right now.”         

The exhibition features examples of Haring’s art which he used to address specific social justice issues. Free South Africa is a suite of three aquatints on paper that were Haring’s political response to the conditions of Apartheid that still existed in South Africa at the time. There is also a series of ten silkscreens on view which Haring created for a book entitled Apocalypse, which he made in collaboration with famed Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs.

Haring devoted much of his time to public works, producing more than fifty public artworks in dozens of cities worldwide. Many of his creations were designed specifically for charities, hospitals, daycare centers, and orphanages. Famous for his Crack is Wack mural of 1986, which has become a landmark in New York, the artist also created a mural for the one-hundredth anniversary of the Statue of Liberty the same year, for which he enlisted the help of 900 children. Haring held drawing workshops for children in schools and museums throughout the world, including New York, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, and Bordeaux.

“This exhibition conveys an energy and spirit that aligns well with our mission,” said Verpoorten. “Haring’s art transcended the streets to inspire a worldwide audience and to affect positive change. We’re proud to have a role in helping his iconic imagery and social message continue to radiate throughout the world even today. Visitors will enjoy looking back at this 80’s iconography and hopefully we can also introduce Haring to a new generation here in Southwest Florida.”

Keith Haring: Radiant Vision is a Single Source Traveling Exhibition organized by PAN Art Connections.

Keith Haring: Radiant Vision is generously underwritten by Rose-Marie and Eijk Van Otterloo, Norman and Suzanne Cohn, Don and Darlene DeMichele, and Charles Marshall and Richard L. Tooke.

HOURS and ADMISSION FROM NOV 1, 2021 – FEB 6, 2022:
Mon – Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday evenings – open until 9 p.m.
Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission: Adults: $15
Members: $10
Students (with valid I.D.): $10
Children (18 and under): free

NAPLES ART has been at the forefront of the arts & cultural landscape of Naples since 1954. We believe art can change lives and improve communities. We are committed to developing tomorrow’s artists and arts leaders, ensuring that artistic expression is available to everyone, and enriching Southwest Florida through the visual arts.

NAPLES ART 2021-22 Exhibition Schedule
Keith Haring: Radiant Vision, November 1, 2021 – February 6, 2022
Scene to Be Seen, February 2022
Reisha Perlmutter, March – April 2022
Let Freedom Ring, April 2022 – June 2022
Camera USA, June 2022 – July 2022

For more information, visit NaplesArt.org.

About Keith Haring
Keith Haring (1958–1990) was arguably the most accomplished and prominent American artist of the 1980s. During the course of his brief ten-year career, Haring rewrote the rulebook for contemporary art, integrating the seemingly disparate arenas of New York City’s gritty downtown counterculture and uptown art aristocracy.

Despite working in a variety of media—including paintings, prints, posters, drawings, sculptures, and street art—Haring’s style was instantly recognizable. Bold lines, pictographic symbols, and vibrant colors abounded in every piece he made. A friend of Andy Warhol, Haring represented the apotheosis of Pop Art, unabashedly exploring the marketing potential of his “brand” through commercial partnerships, mass market products, and even his own storefront. Yet Haring’s work went beyond commercialization by reflecting the artist’s fervent activism and democratic beliefs. He spent his career making posters, public art, and charitable commissions in support of nuclear de-escalation, civil rights, child welfare, and AIDS awareness, among other vital efforts. These causes informed his murals and massive wall paintings, leading one prominent critic to liken his work to “contemporary history paintings” chronicling the major social justice issues of the late twentieth century. Success offered Haring an “entry pass to the world” and he used it to reconnect with the public, collaborating with neighborhood kids while championing the idea that art should belong to everyone.

Keith Haring’s career may have been brief—spanning a mere ten years between his departure from art school and his untimely death—but its impact cannot be under-estimated. In one short decade, Haring managed to completely upend preconceptions about art, value, access, and activism. His art was the intersecting point for fashion, dance, music, and graphic design. Haring was enthralled by the counterculture energy in the graffiti, rap, and breakdancing scenes of the 1980s. His masterful cross-pollination of both worlds is a testament to the force of his captivating personality and creative vision. Haring helped consecrate new genres of art. Sold by galleries and exhibited by museums world-wide, his work sparked an academic and commercial appetite for street art, paving the way for celebrated successors such as Banksy, Swoon, and Shepard Fairey. At the same time, the Pop Shop influenced the market in reverse, restoring Haring’s now sought-after art to the public via affordable clothing and goods.
Perhaps most keenly felt, however, is Haring’s legacy as a humanitarian. A passionate advocate for social justice, he established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989. Today, in his honor, the Foundation continues to fight for child welfare and lobby for care, education, and research surrounding AIDS. As Haring accurately foretold in 1987, “I’m sure when I die, I won’t really die, because I live [on] in many people.”

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