9 Reasons why everyone should see the ‘Keith Haring’ exhibition at Tate Liverpool

Experience vibrant 1980’s downtown New York through the eyes of artist and activist, Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool.


One of the most important and major exhibitions of artist Keith Haring (1958-1990) has opened at Tate Liverpool. From early works to legacy programmes, chalk on paper, video, audio, paint on vinyl, artist Keith Haring created iconic images, symbols and themes to document the ever changing world around him.

Open now and running until 10th November, this exhibition is a real eye-opener. Colours, textures, political and sexual messages are conveyed in many different, inspiring ways that wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of any major city today.

Photo. Mark McNulty.

Alongside his hugely popular public artwork, Haring also designed album covers for the likes of David Bowie and Run DMC and developed a fashion line with the dame herself, Vivienne Westwood. Whether you’re ‘in to art’ or not, Keith Haring (1958-1990) is a ticket and an hour of your time you will long remember and not regret.


Here’s 9 reasons why everyone should see Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) at Tate Liverpool….

1 – It’s Inspirational

Photo. Mark McNulty.
Keith Haring Foundation.

You can’t help but feel inspired by not only Keith Haring’s artwork, but also his story. He loved cartoons as a kid and was inspired by Walt Disney. He doodled a lot and would draw on whatever he could find, this led to creating striking artworks in public spaces for everyone to enjoy. His figures represented lots of different aspects of his life including his political beliefs and support of the LGBTQ community and equal rights.

MORE: Here are 8 reasons why we adore Tate Liverpool

2 – 1980’s NYC

Photo. Mark McNulty.
Keith Haring Foundation.

Haring moved to New York to study art in the late 1970’s. He wanted everyone to have access to art and took to the NYC subway to create his continuous, cartoon-like line artworks on whatever he could find. Walls, floors, posters, building site hoardings even the hood of a iconic yellow NYC taxi cab. You can see examples all of the above at Tate Liverpool.

3 – Club 57

Photo. Mark McNulty.

Similar to the community, DIY feel of todays Baltic Triangle, artists in 1070’s NYC came together in the East Village. Club 57, found in the basement of a Polish church, this became the base for which Haring would organise exhibitions of his own drawing and video works and curate for others. A true artist hang out, with film screenings, live music, open mic and of course art. We reckon he’d have loved the Liverpool vibe too.

4 – It’s a Bit Risqué

Photo. Mark McNulty.
Keith Haring Foundation.

Keith Haring (1958-1990) is open for all to enjoy, although it does contain some mild sexual content. Moving to the bohemian-style East Village, Haring was able to live openly as a gay man for the first time. This influenced a number of art works on display at Tate in which Haring explores his sexual freedom. These are bound to rouse interest on your Instagram story!

MORE: Get the latest Culture news for Liverpool here

5 – Fake News

Ronald Regan was campaigning to be the next president of the United States in 1980 when Keith Haring, essentially began trolling him with a new form of art. Haring created collages using images and newspaper cuttings to make subversive messages, which he then fly posted around the city streets. The 1980’s equivalent of that giant inflatable Trump! You can see photo’s of  these artworks at Tate Liverpool.

6 – The Figure With A Hole In Its Stomach

There’s so much to see in Keith Haring’s large artworks. Men, women, babies, animals, robots, alien spaceships, you name it. One particular figure, one with a whole in its stomach is particularly poignant for Tate Liverpool. Following the news that John Lennon had been shot in NYC, the artist woke from a nights sleep with this striking image, a figure of death and fragility, in his head.

MORE: Watch as we meet Brian Biggs of bluecoat who met Keith Haring

7 – A Legacy

America was a largely homophobic country during the 1980’s and when the HIV/AIDs epidemic began, Haring’s work reflected his commitment to equal rights. Following his own HIV-positive diagnosis and suffering failing health, the artist established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989 to support HIV/AIDS organisations and charities and marginalised youths.

8 – Art to Take Home

Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool in June 2019.

We’re already firm fans of the Tate Liverpool giftshop and Keith Haring (1958-1990) has only added to its allure. Bursting with colour there’s Keith Haring prints, postcards, badges, books, t-shirts, stationery and more. A little piece of this incredibly important artist to take home and treasure.

9 – Tate Liverpool For Everyone

Photo. Mark McNulty.
Keith Haring Foundation.

Tickets for the Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) are priced at £12.50 each with an option to add a small donation to Tate. There’s three whole floors or amazing modern art to check out for free during the rest of your visit to the waterfront gallery.


To get your tickets to see Keith Haring (1958-1990) at Tate Liverpool, head to www.tate.org.uk and follow @tateliverpool on socials for exhibition updates. You can also tag your pics and reviews with #KeithHaring

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