Talking with Keith Haring, June 1986, part two

Keith Haring, Times Square Spectracolor Billboard, NYC, 1982Photo by Tullio Francesco DeSantis*Continued from the previous entry.The first entry in this series can be found here.*Listening to some of the many tape-recorded conversations between us, hearing his evocative voice, the ambience of place and time, brings me back to those days – before he died, before he had any idea that he would be dead within 5 years.Since his death, I’ve reconsidered my trajectories, reoriented my priorities, and have paid attention to life in ways I previously had not. We talked often about life and death, the meaning of it all, the real reasons for making art. After his death, I would never be the same. I did not know that then. Now, I do.*TFD: But what about evil?KH: You could write a whole book just about evil.TFD: As soon as you start thinking about it all there’s a problem that comes up right away. And it’s wanting to do something about it.KH: Forever, people have been trying to figure out what good and evil were. I mean why they existed… or whether they were ideas or real things.TFD: Right. And so they dress them up as angels and devils…KH: But it’s also more… It goes beyond the mess of what they are. I mean there are real good and evil energies that make people…TFD: It’s something inside of a person. It’s inside of each person… like before, when you were talking about happiness…KH: Yeah… and well about evil though, theoretically, I mean, if you take it to a natural disaster being evil also….TFD: But then doesn’t the artist have a responsibility to somehow do a good thing? But then isn’t that politics?KH: Yes and no. Well, it becomes politics but it’s also morality.TFD: … And you can see how art is one of the major aspects of it. Somehow communicating in a way, and in an ethical way, becoming like political. And I think you can tie it in, like, real basic kinds of thinking. At least the stuff you’re sure you believe…. What god is–like, that’s up to you–what you think and how you define it, but it’s good to start there. You know what you think is real. Is it atoms or energy?KH: I’m not sure I believe anything. Everything is, like, what you think you believe.TFD: But where does it start? Like where do things come from? And also, what happens when you die? And what can we do about it, consciously? Can we do anything consciously about it? And is there anything that doesn’t die?KH: I don’t believe anything dies really. It all goes in circles.TFD: You could draw a picture of it, even for yourself. You could draw a very simple picture.KH: It might have pictures… but I don’t know if it’s necessary. It depends what kind of things come out of it.TFD: That was good. I got you to slow down.KH: I mean, my thing is that I have so many… I’m trying to do so many things at the same time….TFD: I’m concerned about how all this takes you away from yourself, man… Everybody wants your time… and wants you to do things….KH: It will all come back to me, really.TFD: I think its important to take the time to create this thing that comes more directly and to try and give it some significance in your life. To take the time to do it.KH: Right.TFD: I think we got something accomplished… I never know if I’m bugging you or not. You know because you are so busy. KH: No, that’s just the way it is. I mean, the only way it’s going to happen is if you bug me, so… I mean you should. It’s the only way I’m going to make myself do it.TFD: That’s why the feedback is good from you–for me to know that you’re interested.KH: Yeah, I want to do it. That’s right. I just have to balance my priorities. I mean this is going to be around for a long… and I’m giving it as much time as I’m giving the Playboy piece. And it shouldn’t be like that. This should be the number one priority in my life…and I’m not sure what that says, but…TFD: Yeah, try and put it in order, take first things first, and make sure that you’re doing it the way you want to do it. Everybody’s time is limited. And you never know. You want to do the best with it.KH: OK. We’ll do it.

Comments Off on Talking with Keith Haring, June 1986, part two

Filed under ARTology Now

Comments are closed.