The National Gallery of Victoria’s latest exhibition Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines is sure to be a must see for contemporary art lovers.
The exhibition surveys both Haring’s and Basquiat’s careers through more than 200 artworks, including works created in public spaces, paintings, sculptures, objects, works on paper and photographs. In addition, it explains the many intersections between their lives, practices and ideas. The world premier exhibition is exclusive to NGV International.
Although both only had short lives – Haring from 1958 to 1990 and Basquiat from 1960 to 88 – according to exhibition curator and art historian, Dr Dieter Buchhart, both were amongst the most significant and influential artists of the late twentieth century.
“They changed the art world of the 1980s through their idiosyncratic imagery, radical ideas and complex socio-political commentary, creating an indelible legacy that continues to influence contemporary visual art and popular culture today,” he explained.
“While Basquiat anticipated today’s ‘always-on’ culture of communication and contemporary knowledge spaces, Haring foreshadowed emojis with his image-word alphabet. This universal system of communication remains a positive, humanistic meme in the collective struggle against ignorance, fear and silence.”
Beginning with examples of Haring and Basquiat’s work from the streets and subway stations of New York City, the exhibition presents early collaborations and highlights from each artist’s breakthrough exhibitions alongside many of their most acclaimed artworks. Paintings featuring Basquiat’s crown and head motifs are highlighted, along with Haring’s iconic ‘radiant baby’ and dancing figures.
Examining symbols, iconography and their incomparable styles, the exhibition also explores the creative circles they moved in, alongside icons such as Andy Warhol, Madonna and Grace Jones.
Visit the exhibition and you’ll learn Haring and Basquiat first met in the halls of Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 1979, where Haring was a student. They quickly became friends. In various collaborative works, the language of graffiti tagging merges with artistic signature. Key symbols belonging to each artist – Basquiat’s crown and Haring’s barking dog and crawling baby – can be found among the tags of a range of the artists’ contemporaries, including Fab 5 Freddy, Poet and Futura 2000.
With themes including portrait/self-portrait, the subway and the street, performance and dance, drawings and early exhibitions, image-language, line and symbol, political thoughts and last works, visitors to Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines are sure to depart with a far greater knowledge of the lives, work and impact of both artists.
Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines is showing at NGV International until April 13. Visit the NGV website for more information.
- contemporary art, national gallery of victoria
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