Keith Haring et son entourage belge

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05/09/2019 - 31/10/2019

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Well known to the general public for his highly personal and subversive graphic style as well as for his predilection for unconventional media, the American artist Keith Haring (1958–1990) enjoyed a career that was as dazzling as it was productive. He is often evoked as the artist who never stopped drawing.
Considered one of the representatives of American pop art – like Warhol, Basquiat, Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns – Haring saw art as a universal means of communication that made it possible to reach a wide audience.

A little-known fact is that the New York pop artist stayed several times in Belgium, in Antwerp and Knokke, between 1987 and 1990. Invited by Galerie 121 in Antwerp (created by Emmy Tob and Monique Perlstein) which exhibited his work in 1983, and by the Knokke-based collector Roger Nellens, who commissioned an exhibition for the Knokke Casino, the artist quickly felt ‘at home’ in Belgium. Among his ‘Belgian’ creations, let’s mention the mural fresco in the cafeteria of M HKA in Antwerp and the container of the local surf school in Knokke (which has now been moved).

More than two decades before the American’s arrival in Belgium in the 1960s and 1970s, pop art and new realism resonated in our country among artists such as Evelyne Axell and Pol Mara, Broodthaers and Panamarenko. They would essentially deal with the same subjects as their American counterparts but would enhance their works with a surrealist and conceptual touch.

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