Keith Haring’s Art is for Everybody at The Broad

dancing figures under a heart photo by geoffrey dickerkeith haring art is for everyone signage photo by geoffrey dicker
Review and All Images By Geoffrey Dicker

Moments before entering The Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles to see Keith Haring’s comprehensive career retrospective  Art Is For Everybody, I (coincidentally) received an email reviewing the show. The article was titled Is Art for Everybody? Despite being very familiar with Haring’s work, I wanted to avoid any spoilers, so I waited to read the article; however, as I walked through the exhibit, that headline stuck with me.

keith haring tribal canvas photo by geoffrey dicker

keith haring drawing graffiti photo by geoffrey dicker

The exhibit begins with Keith Haring’s entry into the public consciousness; as a graffiti artist sharing his work for free in the subways and the streets  of New York. While his art was primitive and borrowed heavily from folk art, it resonated with people and, very quickly, he was fully immersed in New York City’s early ’80s downtown art scene, creating alongside contemporaries such as Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

keith haring ephemera photo by geoffrey dickerkeith haring aids posters photo by geoffrey dicker

While not always presented chronologically, the exhibit has a wealth of interesting Haring artifacts; from journals, to show fliers for his earliest exhibits, to pottery, and every imaginable size of canvas.

keith haring pottery photo by geoffrey dicker

The infamous video of Haring literally painting himself into a corner is on display at a video station alongside a recreation of his now legendary 1980s  New York store, Pop Shop.

pop shop cases photo by geoffrey dicker

At the massive Broad, gallery after gallery is filled with Haring’s extremely colorful, sometimes sexual, socially conscious, and often gigantic art works, many of which are simply Untitled.

snake by keith haring photo by geoffrey dicker
devil face by keith haring photo by geoffrey dicker pink phallus photo by geoffrey dicker

As a big fan of Haring’s work, I half-expected to see a “greatest hits” collection of his work that has been previously on display in various retrospectives, and I was pleasantly surprised at how comprehensive the exhibit is, with many works I’d never seen in person before.

keith haring tree painting photo by geoffrey dicker
keith haring pink skirt suit photo by geoffrey dicker

That pink suit is amazing!

unfinished canvas keith haring photo by geoffrey dicker

One work that gave me ‘all the feels,’ as the expression goes, is an unfinished painting (seen above) that Haring started before his death from AIDS in 1990.

person text in front of haring artworks photo by geoffrey dicker

But back to the question “is his art for everybody?” These days, when you go to a museum, you find people stopping in front of paintings to text or take a selfie, being completely clueless that they are blocking the view of the art for others. There are also the inevitable ‘photo shoots’ taking place in front of colorful works, and this exhibit, sadly, is chock-full of that.

dad shows daughter art photo by gail worley

However, I also saw parents showing their children what I assume to be their first exposure to art. I was also happy to see a young girl with her sketch pad, and I observed people of all ages in awe of the exhibit, myself included.

young girl with sketch pad photo by geoffrey dicker

With The Broad tacking on a $25 fee for this special exhibit,  perhaps Art Is for Everybody is not as inclusive as it should be, but it’s a catchier title than “If you put your phone down long enough, there’s a whole world of imagination just waiting to be explored at the Keith Haring exhibition.”

haring statue of liberty photo by geoffrey dicker
keith haring and graffiti photo by geoffrey dicker

Following its debut at The Broad, Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, from November 11, 2023 to March 17, 2024, and to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from April 27 to September 8, 2024.

andy mouse by keith haring photo by geoffrey dickerandy mouse multiple photo by geoffrey dicker

Visit Geoffrey Dicker’s Website Here and Follow him on Instagram at @According2g.

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