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Tomorrow night the Brooklyn Museum will open its new ‘Keith Haring 1978-1982’ exhibition, showcasing early works by the contemporary artist, many that have never been seen before. Haring came to New York in 1978 and started taking his art to the streets, in many ways a starting point in his career and important chapter for art overall.

“Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.

Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.

In these years Disco was on a full force collision course with Punk, New Wave, and Rap, and Haring was embracing the nightlife of a college student sampling the downtown scene, exploring his sexuality, and commandeering entire rooms at SVA to mount shows on paper. Some of those “body involvement” painting sessions are documented well here in video; a sort of full immersion painting baptism.

Not to be missed in person is the 30 piece collection in the final room of actual subway black papers that Haring adorned with his white line drawings, energetically created symbols and characters throughout stations in New York’s train system. Equally compelling is the projected large slide show of Haring in photos by Tseng Kwong Chi, whom the artist called to shoot almost every time he did an illegal piece in the subway.”

Anybody interested in contemporary art, graffiti, early downtown New York subculture, should certainly check out the exhibition.

Keith Haring: 1978-1982
March 16–July 8, 2012
Brooklyn Museum

Photography: Jaime Rojo

Take a detailed look at the new Keith Haring exhibition after the jump.

(Via BrooklynStreetArt)

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