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Keith Haring at the Albertina: The Alphabet

Published: April 25, 2018; 11:36 · (Vindobona)

To mark the 60th birthday of the American artist, who died at the age of 32, the Albertina is showing a large-scale exhibition of 100 internationally sourced works. The special focus will be on the one-of-a-kind symbolic language that is present throughout Haring's oeuvre as an artistic alphabet of sorts.

Keith Haring at work in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Author Unknown [CC BY 4.0]

Keith Allen Haring (1958 - 1990) was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s.

Haring's work grew to iconic popularity from his exuberant spontaneous drawings in New York City subways - chalk outlines on blank black advertising-space backgrounds - depicting radiant babies, flying saucers, and deified dogs.

After public recognition he created larger scale works such as colorful murals, many of them commissioned.

His imagery has become a widely recognized visual language. His later work often addressed political and societal themes - especially homosexuality and AIDS - through his own unique iconography.

He died on February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications.

The Albertina Museum is devoting a sweeping exhibition to this artist, who would have celebrated his 60th birthday in 2018.

This presentation is intended to shed light on the output of this exceptional American artist from perspectives both art-historical and formal.

A special focus will be on the one-of-a-kind symbolic language that is present throughout Haring’s oeuvre as an artistic alphabet of sorts.

The artist’s subway works and other drawings, as well as his paintings and sculptures, are devoted to themes of social justice and constant transformation.

The appeal of Haring’s oeuvre remains unbroken to this day, and his influence on his contemporaries and younger generations of artists has been enormous.

The Albertina is showing around 100 of his works, all of which are messages against the violence of those in power, against the oppression of minorities, against prejudice and barbarism.

Despite the broad-based reception of his creativity, one central aspect has been neglected to date: his systematic sign language, which runs through his art like a common theme as an alphabet. An art that he understood as language. That everyone should understand. This topic is the focus of the exhibition.

Keith Haring. The Alphabet

Albertina Museum
Albertinaplatz 1 , 1010 Wien
T: +43 1 534 83 0
E: info@albertina.at
W: www.albertina.at

Exhibition open until June 24, 2018