From September 20, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam will present ‘Keith Haring. The Political Line', a major exhibition on the life and work of the influential American artist and activist. Showcasing 120 works, the exhibition highlights the social and political aspects of Haring’s work. Mecanoo was asked to design the exhibition as a immersive visual narrative.
Keith Haring spawned a revolution in art during the 1980s with his unmistakably unique style. In New York City, during the conservatism of the Reagan era, the openly gay Haring made it his mission to highlight social evils in his work. He took a clear stance against the excesses of capitalism and was committed to nuclear disarmament, environmental protection and equal rights for all, irrespective of ethnicity, skin colour, religion or sexual orientation.
Together with diary excerpts and other documentary material from the Haring Foundation archive, the thematic collection of works in ‘The Political Line' illustrates just how committed Keith Haring was to the socio-political issues of his day.
Mecanoo designed eight distinct halls each with their own theme, from Haring’s early chalk drawings to his large-scale paintings about death. The clearly marked entrance hall and the exit with shop are constructed in shapes that resemble outlines of the artist’s work. To veil the contents of the exhibition, a pattern of Haring figurines covers the glazed facade of the gallery.
Image: Keith Haring untitled vinyl paint on vinyl tarp 1982 (c) Keith Haring Foundation.