© Sturart Schwartz

Keith Haring: Photography by Stuart Schwartz

January 25 – March 5, 2021

 
The Image Flow proudly presents Out of the Archive, an exhibition featuring the artist Keith Haring as photographed by Stuart Schwartz.
 

Keith Haring uniquely bridged the gap between the art world and the streets with his graffiti drawings made in public spaces throughout New York City. Rising to prominence in the early 1980s, Keith developed a distinct pop-graffiti aesthetic that centered on fluid, bold outlines often against a dense, rhythmic blend of imagery. In his drawings and murals, he explored themes of exploitation, drug abuse, and rising fears of the nuclear holocaust which became increasingly apocalyptic after his AIDS diagnosis. Keith Haring is regarded as a leading figure in the New York art scene in the 1970s and 80s.
 
In 1984, Keith was commissioned by fashion boutique owner Silvie Gablinger to produce an original artwork in the showroom window of her recently opened boutique “Big” in Zurich, Switzerland.
 
During the course of a Saturday afternoon, Keith produced one of his iconic artworks as hundreds of unexpecting pedestrians passed the boutique’s storefront on Bahnhof Strasse. As he painted, the crowd grew—the younger generation thrilled with the event, the older generation confused. People lingered, a lucky few posed with him, others got his autograph or an original Keith Haring drawing. As the photographs reveal, he loved to mingle in the crowd and was game for anything.
 
Being a close friend of Silvie’s, I was asked to document the day. Keith was an easy subject, very low key and accommodating. He approached the blank canvas that was roughly 10 by 25 feet without a sketch in-hand or any reference points on the canvas itself. Keith’s approach was fluid—once he started painting, he kept painting—a non-stop expression of his creativity and talent. The canvas was painted and finished in less than six hours.
 
Photographing Keith Haring at work was just one more truly unique experience that I owe to my profession as a photographer.

– Stuart Schwartz