Haring Miami: Stunning in Size, but Needs Context
The first thing you'll notice when you walk into the Moore Building for "Haring Miami" is its scope. The exhibit promises more than 200 works by the pop artist Keith Haring, whose colorful paintings became emblematic of 1980s art.
Photos by Ciara LaVelle
Two hundred doesn't sound like a lot in theory, particularly to Miami art fans who are exposed to hundreds of works each month at Wynwood's Second Saturday Art Walk and to thousands at a time each year at Art Basel.
But 200 works by Haring is another story. His canvases, many of which are hung unframed like tapestries, fill four stories of the Moore Building with Haring's instantly recognizable images: human figures dancing and crouching on all fours, simplistically rendered TV sets, dogs, angels. The effect was one of welcome sensory overload.
It's one thing to see Haring's works in reprinted form. They look almost cartoonish, like way better versions of the doodles you used to make during boring college lectures. But seeing the original work up close adds a different, more detailed element. At "Haring Miami," viewers can see, perhaps for the first time, the energy of the artist's brushstrokes and the subtle variations in color that weren't visible on the charity posters and other projects that helped introduce Haring to mainstream America.
Here's another thing you won't often see: Haring's off-canvas works. Haring applied his characteristic style to a variety of objects. On the ground floor, an illuminated crossing signal bears on its sides Haring sketches in black marker. There's also a leather jacket adorned with silver Haring drawings. On the second floor, a white telephone sculpture features intricate embellishments. And one whole corner of the exhibit is set up like a sitting area, complete with a Haring-enhanced chair, side table, and vase.