The Haring show: first impressions…

*Keith HaringJourney of thge Radiant BabyReading Public MuseumInstallation view021806, TFD*Desiring an early view unencumbered by droves of visitors, I managed to arrive at the Reading Public Museum shortly after 11 a.m. on Saturday – fully six hours before the show’s official send-off opening ceremonies. It was as remarkable a sight as being alone with Keith late at Night at Tony Shafrazi’s spacious Soho gallery the day before one of his spectacular exhibits opened to the multitudes.Ron Roth, Director and CEO of the Museum, was methodically checking last-minute details. Over the years, I’ve encountered many of the individuals who were there to assist Keith with the exigencies of his astounding public career – Tony Shafrazi, Leo Castelli, even Andy Warhol. These art world movers and shakers always seemed to me to be transformed from mere mortals into angelic figures, hovering over this radiant being who was nothing if not unique, young, and somehow supremely innocent and in need of their loving care. I picked up this same sense of pure dedication from Roth during these early hours after the exhibition’s public birth. I mention all this because it reminds me of the transformative power of Keith Haring’s life and work. Being in the presence of Keith’s work changes people. When all is said and done, his work creates its own magnetic magic. You can see it in the maelstrom of figures dancing themselves into overarching multicolor form. It can be sensed in the tribal and shamanistic mysteries of Keith’s mandala-like compositions. And it is palpably alive in the pure celebratory energy of the vast works.And so, I do ultimately see how words are incapable and even unnecessary to describe the metaphysical sensation that surrounds one in the presence of Haring’s art. It is manifest – unavoidably present. Once one has experienced, in the flesh, a thorough presentation of even a portion of his work there is no convincing necessary. This stuff moves you, it just does…

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