Sculptures by Pop Artist Icon Keith Haring Brighten WAG Rooftop
How do you hoist two 900-pound sculptures onto the rooftop of the Winnipeg Art Gallery? Very carefully and with a very large crane! Two colourful sculptures by American Pop artist Keith Haring are brightening up the WAG’s rooftop sculpture garden until the end of September. These quintessential public works by one of the Pop movement's most important and recognizable artists capture his belief that "art is for everyone" with their accessibility, bold colour, and powerful symbolism that begs for interpretation.
“Raised in the climate of the Vietnam War and Civil-Rights movement, Haring was a natural activist who used his art to bring awareness to the issues of his time such as Apartheid and the AIDS and crack-cocaine epidemics,” says Paul Butler, WAG Curator of Contemporary Art. “The 80's were also a prosperous time that fueled an unprecedented art market boom. The media embraced Haring and Warhol, making them household names. When Haring opened his own store called Pop Shop, he was criticized for ‘selling out’. He defended his embrace of commercialism by stating that Pop Shop was simply another platform with which to bypass the art world establishment, making his work more accessible to a larger audience. Those same critics would be silenced once they discovered that Haring donated proceeds from Pop Shop to the AIDS cause.”
Haring died in 1990 of AIDS-related complications but his legacy lives on through his public art and The Keith Haring Foundation.
The Keith Haring sculptures are presented as part of NGC@WAG, the WAG’s ongoing partnership with the National Gallery of Canada. NGC@WAG began in January with the sound-installation Janet Cardiff: Forty-Part Motet and will continue in late September with The Clock, Christian Marclay’s video installation which won the Golden Lion for best artwork at the 2011 Venice Biennial.
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