HARING, Keith (1958-1990)
A collection of Keith Haring drawings and ephemera.
In 1984, international pop artist celebrity Keith Haring was invited to Australia where he created a series of monumental and ephemeral murals in public spaces, including the famous water wall of the National Gallery of Victoria. Haring befriended Geoffrey Burke, assistant curator at the National Gallery, who documented Haring’s creation in a series of candid and revealing snapshots, subsequently reproduced in many publications as a record of Haring’s time in Melbourne. Haring gifted Burke a copy of his iconic book published by Tony Shafrazi, embellished with a striking hand-drawn illustration of his signature dancing dog, and further inscribed for him a copy of the ARTnews magazine with his illustration on the front cover.
Famous in his own time, Keith Haring is now rightly regarded as one of the most significant artistic talents to emerge in the late twentieth century. Along with friend and associate Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring elevated New York street art to the walls of the finest museums in the world. The two artists were the subject of a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria in late 2019 / early 2020.
“Keith Haring’s visit to Australia, from 18 February to 8 March 1984, is still regarded with surprise. That an international art superstar should make it to our shores during his meteoric rise to fame — let alone undertake a series of public works here — is amazing. Haring was already a celebrated artist of the 1980s’ New York art scene by the time John Buckley, inaugural director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), invited him to travel to Melbourne to undertake a series of public projects for ACCA and to speak with art media …” – Juliana Engberg, Caterpillars & Computers: Keith Haring in Australia, 2013.
The collection comprises the following:
- Keith Haring. New York : Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 1982. Second edition, 1983. Printed in an edition of 5000 copies (the first edition of 1982 was printed in an edition of 2000 copies). Quarto, spiral-bound illustrated card wrappers (slightly scuffed), pp. , extensively illustrated in colour and black and white. Inscribed inside the upper wrapper ‘For Jeoff’ with a black marker drawing of Haring’s iconic dancing dog, signed ⊕ K. Haring ’84. A photograph of Haring inscribing the book for Burke is included in the collection of photographs below.
- ARTnews. New York : Milton Esterow, October 1982. Illustrated wrappers featuring a Keith Haring mural with the title ‘Keith Haring : painting the town’, pp. 166, illustrated. On p. 76 is a four-page illustrated article ‘Graffiti is a thing that’s kind of hard to explain’ featuring Keith Haring and other New York street artists. On the upper wrapper, the artist has inscribed the magazine ‘To Jeofrey’ and embellished the central green figure by including the date ’84’ and black marker lines of radiance, signed K. Haring lower centre.
- A collection of 54 unique Kodak photographic prints, each 10 x 15 cms, documenting Keith Haring creating his iconic mural on the water wall of the National Gallery of Victoria, each date-stamped Feb 84 verso, showing the artist painting on the clear glass wall, his materials and processes, the artist from a variety of angles, and the artist with Geoffrey Burke. Accompanied by the original negatives for 61 images of the scene (including a number which have not been printed or published), contained on 17 strips. Further accompanied by a letter from an Australian publisher to the photographer Geoffrey Burke, requesting permission to publish one of the photographs, with an acknowledgement from the National Gallery of Victoria that Geoffrey Burke holds the copyright to the images. The copyright over the images has been assigned to the owner of the photographs, with a letter to that effect provided by the Estate of Geoffrey Burke, the photographer.
An article by Dr. Ted Gott on Keith Haring’s mural at the National Gallery of Victoria, illustrated with the photographs offered here, can be found on the website of the NGV: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/essay/fragile-memories-keith-haring-and-the-water-window-mural-at-the-national-gallery-of-victoria/
‘While it was always intended to be an ephemeral painting, Geoffrey Burke’s salutary photographs of the mural’s creation can give Keith Haring’s first Australian project a new half-life in print for us here, ensuring a firm place for it in the ongoing documentation of Haring’s short, but astonishingly productive, career.‘
Reference: Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat : Crossing lines. Melbourne : National Gallery of Victoria, 2019, p. 273 (illustrated)
Provenance: The estate of the late Geoffrey Burke, Melbourne