Unconventional Canvases brings together five vehicles painted, or drawn on, by Pop Artist Keith Haring (1958-1990). Haring’s brief and prolific career from 1982-1990 documented the spirit of New York City’s underground art scene through icons and images that evoked the challenges of late Twentieth Century society. His trademark style was popularized in spontaneous chalk drawings throughout the New York City subway stations. The simple and assured lines were meant to translate art in a manner that all viewers could experience and consume.
His works on automobiles were created during Artist-in-residencies at the Montreux Jazz Fest and 24 Hours of Le Mans, and promotional events for the Fast Art Gallery in New Jersey and Galerie Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf. The imagery reflects the atmosphere, speed and life Haring witnessed at each of these locations. His familiar icons dress the surface in a visual language that can be read and experienced by viewers in their own time and in their own way.
You've inevitably seen Keith Haring's vibrant stick figures on keychains, coffee mugs, T-shirts and tote bags. It would be easy to dismiss the late muralist's Warhol-like merchandising saturation as selling out, but the truth is Haring's politically aware chalk works were always in search of as many widespread mediums as possible.
The Petersen Automotive Museum is presenting an entire exhibition of arguably the most unusual of those mediums: cars. Beginning December 17, The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring will put five cars on display that Haring had painted or marked up in his signature style.
Haring decorated all of the vehicles on display between 1983 and 1990, including four cars—1963 Buick Special, 1971 Land Rover Series III, 1990 BMW Z1 and a 1962 SCAF/Mortarini Mini Ferrari 330 P2 Motorized Child’s Automobile—and one motorcycle—1987 Honda CBR1000F Hurricane.
– Michael Juliano,TimeOut
Keith Haring was the epitome of New York’s graffiti-inspired 1980’s art scene. But it’s his work on automobiles—not subway platforms—that is the focus of a new exhibit at Los Angeles’s Petersen Automotive Museum.
Running through June 4 at the foremost proponent of Southern Californian car culture, The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring is the first time that the five works have been shown together. “From our perspective, the fact that he was interested in a variety of different surfaces, and worked freehand with incredible spacialization, was the major appeal,” says Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director. “He would just sit down and start ripping.”
The exhibition includes a 1963 Buick Special, the 191 Land Rover Series III 109 station wagon he created during the 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and a 1962 SCAF/Mortarini mini Ferrari 33 P-2 completed during France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1984. “Keith’s style was so unique because it wasn’t interested in traditional forms,” Karges adds. “He wanted to work with what the average person could see during a routine day. And there was just a joy to the art.”
The final piece in the exhibit, a BMW for the Galerie Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf, Germany, was painted in 1990, the same year Haring died of AIDS at age 31.
– Nicholas Tamarin, Interior Design
Petersen Automotive Musem
December 17, 2016 - June 4, 2017
Every Day 10AM - 6PM
6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90036 · Map
Phone: (323) 930-CARS (2277) · E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Petersen Automotive Museum Website