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Keith Haring all-over

By presenting, for the first time in Belgium, an exceptional exhibition of the works of Keith Haring, the City of Mons paid tribute to an atypical artist, long undervalued by the art establishment, but who, paradoxically, has enjoyed an unprecedented level of popular success.

An atypical American artist. Born in the USA in 1958, Keith Haring is above all a personality who symbolises his era, constantly connecting the art world to the world of the street and the most diverse public. He drew inspiration from contemporary society, and from the music and dance of his time.

Immense popularity

Besides his easily identifiable graphic style, his immense popularity can be explained by his preference for unusual surfaces: advertising spaces on the New York subway, the walls of the city streets, lampposts, etc.

Over 150 works to discover

"Keith Haring all-over" enabled you to discover, in two different locations (BAM and Anciens Abattoirs de Mons) over 150 works of art – paintings, drawings, large sculptures and works on paper – on loan from some of the biggest American and European collections, both public and private. It also included a series of photos and videos showing the context in which Keith Haring's art came into the world and prospered.

The exhibition retraced the artist's short career in full, covering the years from 1980 to 1990: drawings from the early 80s, paintings on metal and vinyl, and the famous drawings produced on the subway between 1980 and 1985.

Themes still topical today

Whether on standard surfaces (like canvas and paper) or more unexpected ones (such as a car and even people's bodies), Keith Haring's work leaves no one feeling indifferent. Despite the apparent playfulness of the images, the artist shows his interest in the major concerns of his time: AIDS, drugs and the power of money.

A need to occupy urban space

The centrepiece of the exhibition was the complete series of 28 paintings on metal plaques, never before exhibited in their entirety, measuring a total of over 70 metres in length. This exceptional set of paintings, which the artist produced on a building site in New York, shows his compelling need to occupy urban space and to free himself from the traditional cultural milieu and the art market.

Art that's accessible to everyone

In the same spirit, and specially reinstalled for the exhibition, his astonishing "Pop Shop Tokyo" illustrates his desire to make art accessible to everyone, with this incredible shop where he presented his work directly to the general public.

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