Keith Haring ‘The Political Line’, Kunsthal Rotterdam

September 20, 2015 – February 7, 2016

‘The Political Line’ is a major exhibition on the life and work of influential American artist and activist Keith Haring (1958-1990). With his unmistakably unique style, Keith Haring, a protégé of Andy Warhol, spawned a revolution in art during the 1980s.
He was inspired by graffiti, comic strips, music, dance, ‘high’ art and popular culture, and developed a wholly distinctive visual style. With one hundred and twenty artworks from international collections, the exhibition highlights in detail the social and political aspects of this world-famous artist’s life’s work.
In the 1980s, Keith Haring was a leading figure in New York’s downtown community, which took its creativity from urban street culture. It was the era of Reagan’s conservatism, and the overtly homosexual Keith Haring made it his personal mission to highlight social injustices through art.

In his work, Haring took a clear stance against the excesses of capitalism and he was committed to nuclear disarmament, environmental protection, the struggle against AIDS and equal rights for all. He had a tremendous influence on his generation, and although his career spanned just a single decade, the effect of his visual language is none the less for it. His rhythmic lines and patterns express his enormous zest for life.

Keith Haring’s artworks are impressive and create a visual spectacle; from his early ‘subway drawings’ – his first public works in New York metro stations – and large-scale paintings on canvas and vinyl tarps, to his numerous works on paper, miscellaneous objects and sculptures. Together with diary excerpts and other archival and documentary material, the thematic collection of artworks in ‘The Political Line’ illustrates just how committed Keith Haring was to addressing the complex issues of his day. Remarkably, his first exhibition outside of the USA took place in Rotterdam in 1982. In 2015, twenty-five years after Haring’s death, this Kunsthal exhibition is a testament to the fact that his art is as influential today as it ever was.