Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat

Crossing Lines

In an unprecedented, world premiere exhibition, the National Gallery of Victoria presents the work of two of the most significant and influential artists of the late twentieth century in Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. Exclusive to Melbourne, the exhibition offers new and fascinating insights into their unique visual languages and reveals, for the first time, the many intersections between their lives, practices and ideas.

Keith Haring (American 1958–90) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (American 1960–88) changed the art world of the 1980s through their idiosyncratic imagery, radical ideas and complex socio-political commentary, creating an indelible legacy that continues to influence contemporary visual and popular culture today. Each artist is acclaimed for his distinctive visual language, employing signs, symbols and words to convey strong social and political messages in unconventional ways.

The exhibition surveys each artist’s tragically short, yet prolific career through more than 300 artworks, including works created in public spaces, painting, sculpture, objects, works on paper, photographs and more. Crossing Lines provides local and international audiences with a comprehensive insight into each of these influential artists, as well as an understanding of their broader impact, both in the 80s and 90s and continuing today.

Beginning with examples of both artist’s work from the streets and subway stations of New York City, the exhibition presents works from each artist’s first exhibitions, their collaborations with each other, as well as with the likes of Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Madonna. It continues by presenting some of their most acclaimed artworks, including pieces featuring Basquiat’s crown and head motifs and Haring’s iconic ‘radiant baby’ and dancing figures.

Curated for the NGV by Dr Dieter Buchhart, art historian and curator of recent monographic exhibitions on both Jean-Michel Basquiat (Fondation Louis Vuitton, Barbican art Gallery) and Keith Haring (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris).

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