Keith Haring: the Milwaukee Mural

The National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo  "La Civitella" in Chieti is hosting an exhibition that reflects on the relationship between contemporary and ancient art. It is highlighted by a colossal work – thirty meters long and two and a half meters high – made by the U.S. artist Keith Haring in 1983 to celebrate the opening of  the Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee.

And so, until 19 February 2012, for the first time in Italy – thanks to the collaboration with the Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art – we will be able to see the twenty-four wooden panels executed by the artist in April 1983, magnificent works which condensate all the figurative language of his original and personalised iconography. 

Mural of Milwaukee is a great masterpiece, painted on both sides. On one side, there is an uninterrupted sequence of crawling babies at the top, while at the bottom there is a series of barking dogs. On the other side of the wall, the narration is more complex and animated with different characters, icons of Haring’s poetics: dancing figures inspired to break-dancers, among which there is a television with wings, a dog and a man with a snake’s head. In the centre of the mural there is a dancer who has a television for his head with the number 83 drawn on the monitor, while on the right, another symbolic image of the graffiti genius stands out: the face with three eyes sticking its tongue out. 

“The mural has been given particular importance because it was realised at the beginning of the artist’s career when his style reflected all the freshness of the drawings of New York’s underground” – explains Curtis L. Carter in the exhibition catalogue, evoking those frantic days of realisation of the work.