Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Five things to do at "Keith Haring: 1978--1982," at the Brooklyn Museum

Show the kids what Keith Haring's city-centric exuberance is all about with these five family-friendly things to do.

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Lee Magill

    Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

Photograph: Lee Magill

Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

Few artists have as much kid appeal as Keith Haring, and the Brooklyn Museum's "Keith Haring: 1978--82" exhibit, a look at the NYC-based artist's earliest work, is a perfect way to introduce your child to his mesmerizing work. While some of the pieces in it have somewhat adult content (a woman giving birth, plus a fair bit of phallic-centric imagery—all quasi-abstracted in cartoon-like fashion), on the whole the show is very kid-friendly and wonderfully New York--esque. If you wish to avoid all potentially uncomfortable moments, stay on the left side of the main gallery as you enter the show; it, the two galleries in back and the kid-friendly interactive drawing room are controversy-free. Here are five ways for your family to get the most out of the show.

Watch Keith Haring at work
Two fascinating videos show Haring painting his signature black-and-white works on the floor. If you have to pick one, check out "Painted Into a Corner" (1979), in which the artist films himself creating a work from start to finish that leaves him literally stuck in a corner. It's set to a soundtrack of Devo, music that highlights the physicality of Haring's painting process to great effect.

Experience the vibe of 1980s NYC
A pulsing '80s soundtrack plays in the gallery separating the main gallery from the one in back. Photos of the clubblng world are plastered to some walls, while on another a slide show projects photographs of Haring's subway art. Haring put these chalk drawings on black paper in subway stations temporarily (and illegally) to share his art with a greater audience, and to highlight the detrimental effects of advertising on our consciousness by covering billboard ads with works intended to delight, not manipulate. 

Explore The Matrix (1983)
The most astonishing single work in the exhibit is Haring's The Matrix, a more than 30-foot-long work of ink on paper from 1983 that the artist created over the span of a few days. Sit the kids down so they can let their eyes dance over the surface. Over time, what emerges from the all-over pattern of lines and dots are recognizable figures, both human and animal, and some of Haring's signature symbols, such as TVs (of which he was very critical) and hearts.

Draw Haring-inspired works
Just off the final gallery, which is devoted largely to the untitled chalk drawings Haring exhibited in NYC subway stations, is a bright-green room filled with Etch-A-Sketch-like tablets on which your family can create—and erase—drawings inspired by the artist's works. As the wall text says: "Consider what ideas might be communicated through the size, length, movement and thickness of the lines you create."

Come back on April 7 for a party
April's Target First Saturday event, Party of Life, features two family-friendly art-making activities—one the fabrication of a Pop-inspired button, the other the creation of a Haring-inspired print—plus an electro-punk performance by Comandante Zero and a dance party set to some of Haring's favorite '70s and '80s tunes. Festivities begin at 5pm.

is on view at the Brooklyn Museum (on the fifth floor) through July 8.


RELATED

 

Share your thoughts
  1. * mandatory fields