Perfect for Art Lovers

Inspire Me

The summer of love (and birth and death)

Haring’s strong focus on social justice delivers more than 85 pieces covering politics, rebellion, birth and death, the space race, music and street art.

If you’re making plans for summer in Liverpool, we’ve got a treat coming up… Next month Tate Liverpool opens the doors on its latest summer blockbuster, this time hosting the first UK solo show of American artist Keith Haring. Haring’s vibrant, colourful work is known as much for its political activism as its iconic style, taking inspiration from street and pop art and underground club culture to create work that includes the barking dogs and radiant babies that we know so well.

Opening its doors on 14 June, the Albert Dock’s big summer draw brings together more than 85 works, including large-scale drawings and paintings alongside archival documents, flyers, posters, video and photographs. It explores his role as both an activist and modern artist of the video age.

© Keith Haring Foundation
© Keith Haring Safe Sex! 1987
© Keith Haring Crack Down! 1986

Haring was a key face on the art scene of 1980s New York, hanging out with friends including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Madonna and Yoko Ono. Born in 1958, he grew up against the background of the space race and protest movements of the 1960s, tackling subjects like birth, death, love, sex, war and compassion. Moving to New York City in the 1980s, he took his role’s social responsibility seriously, speaking for a generation through his work on political dictatorship, homophobia, nuclear war, drug addiction, AIDS awareness, racism, excesses of capi-talism and environmental degradation.

© Keith Haring Foundation

Since the exhibition was announced last autumn, people have been talking about the synergies between Haring and Liverpool, and how well suited the retrospective will be. Tate Liverpool Director Helen Legg says, “Keith Haring and Liverpool have much in common. They’re both politically engaged with a history of activism, a strong sense of social justice and a love of music and fashion.”

The influences that formed his upbringing, from space travel and robot-ics to video games and hip hop are everywhere in Haring’s work. Politics and rebellion are well suited to a city where social justice always catches the collective eye, alongside fashion, music and street art, making this dynamic, spirited exhibition the one to catch when you’re planning things to do in Liverpool this summer. Not to be missed!

© Keith Haring Untitled 1980
© Keith Haring Untitled 1983

Summer sizzlers – four more colourful artworks to see in Liverpool this summer:

Liverpool Mountain

Ugo Rondinone

Rondinone’s Liverpool Mountain arrived at the Dock to much fanfare last summer, in Mermaid Courtyard, alongside Tate Liverpool. Also a major coup for the city, it’s Rondinone’s first public artwork in the UK. Measuring ten metres tall, it consists of vertically-stacked rocks, with each stone painted a different fluorescent colour. Inspired by naturally occurring Hoodoos - spires or pyramids of rock - and the art of meditative rock balancing, Liverpool Mountain’s teetering formation defies gravity.

Nightfall

Keith Drury at Liverpool Pictures

Keith Drury’s, hyper-colourful series catches your eye as soon as you head through the door at Liverpool Pictures. With titles including Li-verpool Nightfall and Mersey Moonshine, he calls his mixing of historic and contemporary elements ‘retromagic’.

Cossacks

Wassily Kandinsky

Tate Liverpool’s free collection also houses Wassily Kandinsky’s colourful Cossacks, featuring Russian cavalrymen in orange hats. Kandinsky, though, didn’t believe that paintings need to represent the real world, expressing emotions through the way colours and lines are arranged in a painting.

Get inspired by Stephi LaReine

Instagram blogger Stephi LaReine is a big fan of the Dock. If you ha-ven’t seen her technicolor posts, take a look on Instagram of some of her adventures on the waterfront. Channel your inspiration from Stephi’s shots – we love this one she took outside The Nest – and start taking some super-colourful snaps of your own.

Keith Haring runs at Tate Liverpool from 14 June to 10 November. It’s open daily from 10am to 6pm.

All Haring Works © Keith Haring Foundation / Collection Noirmontartproduction, Paris