NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections presents an afternoon symposium, “Keith Haring: Languages" on December 12. At the conclusion of the symposium, the exhibition, “Keith Haring: Languages,” curated by Andrew Blackley, which focuses on archival objects and rarely-screened video artworks made by Keith Haring (1979-81) will open to the public.

"Keith Haring: Languages,” a Symposium and Exhibition at NYU’s Fales Library, December 12, 2013
Keith Haringc.1979Ink on paper

Curated by Andrew Blackley, the exhibition focuses on early texts and rarely-screened video artworks made by Keith Haring and runs through February 28, 2014

Please refer to the Fales website for a more detailed schedule of events.

Beginning at 3pm, the symposium, introduced by Fales Director Marvin J. Taylor and curator Andrew Blackley, will be composed of two panels of participants presenting papers which offer new approaches to Haring’s work from variety of academic and professional disciplines.

Drawn from the materials maintained by the Keith Haring Foundation, the participants -- curators, art historians, filmmakers, critics and scholars -- were asked to look at Haring not simply as a visual artist, but as a figure engaged with, among other things, semiotics, mathematics, and language—both verbal and visual.

“We’ve aimed to create a platform for the production of new scholarship – at once speculative and historical - applicable to this interesting and important moment in Haring's career,” said panel organizer and exhibition curator, Andrew Blackley.

“The Keith Haring Foundation is committed to utilizing its archive to generate new perspectives on Keith Haring's career,” said Julia Gruen, Executive Director of the Keith Haring Foundation.  “The opportunity to do so with NYU’s Fales Collection is particularly satisfying, since the library, curator Andrew Blackley and several scholars are exploring and offering insights into some of Haring’s least-known and rarely investigated earliest work.  We couldn’t be happier with this initiative, and hope that it inspires others to conduct similarly deep exploration into other facets of Haring’s practice and philosophy of art.”

“Keith Haring was one of the most important artists to rise out of the explosion of creativity that was the downtown New York Scene of the 1970s and 80s, but his popularity came with a price: He has, to some, been largely considered a pop culture icon,” said Taylor. “Haring was much more than that. Andrew Blackley has delved into Haring’s work with language and opened a whole new way for scholars to approach Haring’s work. The scholars at this symposium have followed Blackley’s lead and will take us to new understandings of this complicated and ever-fascinating artist. We’re especially honored that the Keith Haring Foundation chose the Fales Library as the site for the symposium and exhibition.”


Presenters and their affiliations: Johanna Burton - New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY; Anthony Elms - Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; Maria Engberg - Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; Alex Fialho; Diarmuid Hester - University of Sussex, UK; Laura Hoptman - Museum of Modern Art, NY; Ryan Purcell; Amy Raffel - City University of New York; and artist Scott Treleaven.

The symposium coincides with Keith Haring: Languages, an exhibition focusing on early (1979-1981) and rarely-screened video artworks made by Keith Haring.  These titles include Lick Fat Boys, Machine, Phonics, and Videotape for Two Monitors, among others. Each video features a distinct composition and structure, utilizing strict, exhaustive structures of predetermined repetition and replacement. Others appear to be “live edited” as performed from memory.

The exhibition will explore the textual content developed behind these video artworks and their transitional use in Haring's early performances and installations. The textual artworks within the exhibition hold unique positions as they individually occupy multiple categorical qualifiers - drawings, verses, plans, poems and exercises. The exhibition draws from and showcases selected materials from Haring’s archive as modular; together composing a matrix of exchangeable but specific data. Rather than highlighting individual documents as representative, the exhibition is organized to allow for each of the 130+ items to interact within the syntax of matrices. Each model is allowed to exist and function both autonomously and as a key component of a set.

About Andrew Blackley:  Andrew Blackley lives in New York and works with artists, writers, and archives. Previous exhibitions organized at the Fales include "Randolph Street Gallery Archives" (2012) and "Not only this, but new language beckons us." (2013.)

About The Keith Haring Foundation:  The mission of the Keith Haring Foundation is to sustain, expand, and protect the legacy of Keith Haring, his art, and his ideals. The Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, research and care related to AIDS.  Keith Haring (1958-1990) generously contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. In 1989, Keith established a foundation to ensure that his philanthropic legacy would continue indefinitely.

The Keith Haring Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit groups that engage in charitable and educational activities. In accordance with Keith’s wishes, the Foundation concentrates its giving in two areas: The support of organizations which provide educational opportunities to underprivileged children and the support of organizations which engage in education, prevention and care with respect to AIDS and HIV infection.  Keith Haring additionally charged the Foundation with maintaining and protecting his artistic legacy after his death. The Foundation maintains a collection of art along with archives that facilitate historical research about the artist and the times and places in which he lived and worked. The Foundation supports arts and educational institutions by funding exhibitions, educational programs, acquisitions and publications that serve to contextualize and illuminate the artist’s work and philosophy.

About Fales Library and Special Collections:  The Fales Library, comprising nearly 355,000 volumes, and over 10,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses the The Fales Collection of British and American Literature, the Downtown Collection, and the Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video objects. The Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection is a vast and rapidly expanding collection of books and manuscripts documenting food and foodways with particular emphasis on New York City. Other strengths of the Fales Library include the Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll Materials, the Robert Frost Library, the Kaplan and Rosenthal Collections of Judaica and Hebraica and the manuscript collections of Elizabeth Robins and Erich Maria Remarque. The Fales Library preserves manuscripts and original editions of books that are rare or important not only because of their texts, but also because of their value as artifacts.

Keith Haring Foundation

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