Los Angeles’s Broad Museum will open the city’s first Keith Haring museum exhibition in May. The show, titled Art is for Everybody, will focus on Haring’s life and activism, encompassing over 120 works from the late 1970s through 1988 and archival material including personal journals.

Although Haring is famous for his kinetic line drawings and lighthearted comic-style figures (and the eventual mass production of his work), he wove overtly political themes into his art throughout his career.

He created series advocating for nuclear disarmament and an end to apartheid in South Africa, two themes that the upcoming exhibition will examine. The show will span 10 galleries, the last of which will focus on Haring’s activism surrounding the AIDS crisis through his posters like “Ignorance = Fear / Silence = Death” (1989), published by Act Up, and “Stop AIDS” (1989). Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and died of complications of the illness two years later at the age of 31.

Keith Haring, “Red Room” (1988), acrylic on canvas, 96 x 179 inches

Haring’s short career spanned approximately a decade, but between 1982 and 1988 he created more than 50 public works, including his famous 1986 “Crack Is Wack” mural on a Harlem handball court. He also created thousands of subway drawings.

“Keith Haring’s belief that art should be accessible to all is central to the exhibition and integral to The Broad’s mission,” said the show’s curator, Sarah Loyer, in a press release.

Art is for Everybody will also exhibit work by Haring’s contemporaries, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, and Andy Warhol, and feature a backlit immersive portion displaying the artist’s sculptures and fluorescent Day-Glo paintings and with music from Haring’s collection of mixtapes.

Art is for Everybody will open May 27 and run through October 8, 2023.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.

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