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Keith Haring - Heaven and Hell

23/09/2001 – 06/01/2002

Opening on September 22, 2001, 6 p.m.
Press conference on September 20, 2001, 11 a.m.

The American painter, graphic artist, and sculptor, Keith Haring, is one of the most popular artists of our time. Eleven years after his death, his works still have a significant impact on the general public. Haring’s immediately recognizable figures, such as the logos of stylised, radiating dogs and babies, have become part of our visual culture. It was his Pop Shop, which he opened 1986 in New York that enabled him to promote his motifs far beyond the limits of the art scene. Thus, for once it is particularly important to bring the less well-known and stylistically utterly diverse Keith Haring into focus. The Karlsruhe exhibition attempts to do this with the presentation of over 80 of his works (paintings and drawings).

From the very beginning Keith Haring dealt with the meaning of death, violence, and sin, of power, religion, and redemption. The theme of sexuality also repeatedly challenged him to create new images. Another focal point of his artwork is the depiction of the individual as part of the anonymous mass or as an isolated figure standing against it. The confrontation with the immune deficiency disease AIDS, to which he succumbed at the age of 31, is also the theme of many pictures and drawings. It is only from this perspective that we can fully comprehend Keith Haring’s life-affirming and colourful "icons” as alternative images of hope.

The core of the exhibition consists of rarely shown and partly extremely large paintings from the Estate of Keith Haring (New York) and from American collections. In addition to the stage set to "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” (for the Ballet National de Marseille, 1984) the series "Ten Commandments” from 1985 and the decorations for the New York club "The Palladium” are also being shown.

A richly illustrated publication with texts by David Galloway, Ulrike Gehring, Ralph Melcher, Andreas Schalhorn und Giorgio Verzotti accompanies the exhibition.

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