The Keith Haring Akron Art Museum exhibition Keith Haring: Against All Odds opened April 15th and remains on view through September 24th, 2023. Organized by the Rubell Museum and the Akron Art Museum, this show provides a sweeping overview of the height of Haring’s career and will include more than 110 original objects made between 1981 and 1990.
The Rubell Museum holds one of the largest private Keith Haring collections in the world. Many of the works that will be on view at during the Keith Haring Akron Art Museum exhibition were acquired by the Rubell Museum shortly after Haring created them and around the same time as they were first presented publicly.
Keith Haring’s career in art took off through chalk drawings in New York City subway stations and, during the 1980s, exploded into paintings, drawings, large-scale murals, fashion, and pop culture. The artist channeled his newfound popularity and his signature style of bold and energetic outlines into expressions of love and positivity. He also used his art to make political statements against war, environmental destruction, racism, and more, and to advocate for gay rights and AIDS awareness.
“The exhibition will highlight Haring’s commitments to art and politics, as well as his relationships with artistic peers like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol,” Jeff Katzin, Curator for the Akron Art Museum, said. “We are looking forward to sharing Keith Haring’s work, his ideas, and his personality with our visitors.”
In 1986, Haring opened his Pop Shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood selling shirts, posters, and other items to break down barriers between fine art and broad audiences. While many artists shy away from commercial enterprises, Haring was committed to making his art more accessible.
The Keith Haring Akron Art Museum exhibition will have an area that has been hand-painted by local artist Ron Copeland in the style of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, providing an exciting, immersive environment for reflection, education, and programs.
Haring’s monumental painting of two figures dancing around a heart and his Statue of Liberty sculpture created with Angel Ortiz will be on view through May 14. After their limited time at the Akron Art Museum, they will head to the West Coast to join a traveling exhibition. These two works were part of Haring’s debut exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York City in 1982. This was his first show at a commercial gallery, and the success of the exhibition cemented his place in the world of fine art.
Two additional works, courtesy of the Keith Haring Foundation, will be on view starting May 16.