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Decades after his death, Keith Haring's work returns to Walker Art Center

Keith Haring's work returns to Walker Art Center
Keith Haring's work returns to Walker Art Center 02:35

MINNEAPOLIS — The Walker Art Center is celebrating an artist's return to the Twin Cities.

You might recognize the bold colors, or maybe it's the distinct drawings.

"This exhibition is really the story of a young artist, it's an artist who had an incredible trajectory," Walker Art Center's Senior Curator and Director of Visual Arts Siri Engberg said.

That young artist is Keith Haring

"I think what's really amazing about Haring is that he had the ability to embed so many things in his art," Engberg said.

From sculptures to paintings to crawling babies, Haring's brief but intense career spanned across the 1980s.

Decades after his peak, Haring's work is now on display at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. 

"He was always about making sure people had access to his art and that ability to connect is very rare," Engberg said. "He was very exuberant as a person and as an artist and it shows in the exhibition."

But it's not the first time Haring's exuberance was felt here. 

"Keith Haring was really fearless," Engberg said.

He did a residency at the museum in 1984. Archive footage, displayed present day, depicts his artistic process.

"What I love about this footage is that it shows how incredibly confident he was," Engberg said.

A staunch supporter for the LGBTQ+ community during the HIV/AIDS crisis, Haring's passion for art and activism intertwined.

"He himself was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in '87. His passion and his real urgency around getting a message across just intensified during that period," Engberg said.

Sometimes that message came as a literal public service announcement seen in bus stops or subways. Other times, more subtle.

"He gained fame very quickly, and as we see from the works in this exhibition he really made an impact on culture at large," Engberg said.

An impact on culture and so much more.

"He was an artist who was really about joy and exuberance, and a message about art being for all," Engberg said. "But also an artist who had very passionate activism and was very much about social and political issues. So he really did both, his impact lives on."

Haring died from AIDS-related complications in 1990. He was just 31 years old. 

The Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody exhibit will be at the Walker through Labor Day. 

The Walker said it's thrilled to showcase this exhibit during Pride Month, and the Walker and the Haring exhibit will have a presence during the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park.

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