musée d'art contemporain
de Bordeaux

Keith Haring

Untitled, 1985




Acrylic paint on concrete; 1050 x 180 cm.


In 1985, the CAPC simultaneously gave all its different areas over to Keith Haring: the Nave, and the ground floor and second floor galleries. After hanging his drawings on the ground floor, the artist painted straight onto the gallery walls. The CAPC suggested that he paint on the lift shaft wall linking the three parts of the show. At the back of the lift, a glass screen was set up like a window. The silhouette of a man stretched along the route of the lift well on both floors. At the very top you see his head, haloed with little lines, like L’enfant radieux, a recurrent figure in the artist’s oeuvre.

Keith Haring was born in 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He died a premature death in New York in 1990, aged 31. Keith Haring was one of the first artists to use graffiti as an art praxis in the subway and on billboards. At the outset he worked on New York’s transport systems, then on all manner of surface and medium, contesting any hierarchy between art and street, and disseminating his works in the form of multiple editions. As a contemporary and friend of Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, his paintings and felt-tip drawings talk about the immediacy of their day and age. He presented characters with spare, schematic features, the effectiveness of which was inherited from the media and Pop Art. With his people easily recognizable as nothing less than contemporary hieroglyphs, he very quickly became an emblem, then a legend, of the alternative cultural movements of America in the 1980s.
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