Category: graffiti

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Keith Haring painting the National Gallery of Victoria mural in Australia, February 1984.

In 1984 during a three week visit to Australia, New York artist Keith Haring undertook a number of public art events. The artist’s willingness to create a deliberately ephemeral work at the NGV, on glass, accorded with “Haring’s desire to devaluate a presumed superiority of individualistic drawing on paper or canvas over other kinds of cultural artifacts, considering all surface as having equal worth.”

Haring first set up the small ghetto-blaster he carried everywhere, which was decorated by artist Kenny Scharf. John Buckley recalled him at work:

“With his beaut little Kenny Scharf radio that he brought over with him from New York, that was blasting away the whole time. He loved the scissor-lift. He was like a kid with a new toy, because he had never been on a scissor-lift before, and he just had the best fun with that. [Before too long] he was a pro with it; he knew how to manoeuvre it in the finest possible way.”

Haring had been brought to look at the window only a day or two before he began the mural. Without any template or grid-lines he painted proportionally without any hesitation or mistakes.

Haring painting constantly at eye level, not needing to move the cherry picker back to judge how the whole might be coming together. As Haring himself observed at this time:

“One of the things I have been most interested in is the role of chance in situations – letting things happen by themselves. My drawings are never pre-planned. I never sketch a plan for a drawing, even for huge wall murals.”

Haring was also happy to be interrupted at any point, frequently stopping his painting to talk to visiting schoolchildren, sign autographs and quickly sketch souvenir drawings for curious new fans of his work – returning to the mural after each of these intermissions without missing a beat.

Source

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Keith Haring photographed by Jeannette Montgomery Barron, 1985.

“This was taken in Keith’s studio on lower Broadway. Every single inch of his walls was covered with drawings. I really didn’t have to do anything – Keith just went through his poses while I snapped the shutter. ”

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Madonna and Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Glenn O’Brien, 1982.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna while they were dating, circa 1983.

Photo by Maripol

On this day in music history: August 11, 1973 – Eighteen year old Jamaican born DJ Kool Herc (aka Clive Campbell) throws a block party in the first floor rec room of his apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx in New York City. Advertised as a “Back To School Jam”, flyers handwritten on 3×5 index cards are distributed widely throughout the neighborhood. The event is filled to capacity, attracting 300 people. Herc sets up his powerful sound system in the room, spinning a mixture of R&B, Funk, Latin and Rock records. Using duplicate copies of the same record on two turntables, Herc isolates and extends the breakdown of these songs to the delight of the crowd. The event is a huge success and leads to the DJ spinning at even larger events on the streets and in clubs in and around the Bronx. However, the first party is regarded as a watershed event in history as the birth of the Hip Hop Movement. The strip of Sedwick Avenue where the apartment complex resides, is redubbed “Hip Hop Blvd.” by the city of New York in 2016, by mayor Bill de Blasio. The current owners of the building have applied for it to be added to the registry of historic sites in New York City in 2007, but to date has not been finalized.  Happy 46th Birthday, Hip Hop!!!

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Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed by Evelyn Hofer for Vogue, 1985.

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Keith Haring body-painting Grace Jones in New York City, 1985.

(Photos by Tseng Kwong Chi)

On this day in music history: March 18, 1983 – The hip hop documentary film “Wild Style” is officially released in US theaters. Written, produced and directed by Charlie Ahern and released through First Run Features, the film is one of the first to document the different aspects of New York underground Hip Hop/B-boy subculture including graffiti writing, MC’ing, DJ’ing and break dancing. It features a number of important and seminal figures to the movement including Fab 5 Freddy, The Cold Crush Brothers, The Rock Steady Crew, Grandmaster Flash, Busy Bee, Grandmixer DST (now known as DXT), and Lee Quinones. The accompanying soundtrack album (originally released on Animal/Chrysalis Records and produced by Ahern and Fab 5 Freddy) features many of the artists seen in the film (additional pieces by Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein of Blondie) and becomes a musical cornerstone and often sampled part of rap in the years that follow. The original single LP is reissued by Beyongolia Records in 1998 as a double LP set (with extra tracks) in a gatefold sleeve, and as a further expanded edition for its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2008 by Rhino Records. Rhino also releases the film on VHS and later on DVD. “Wild Style” attains a major cult following over the years, and is recognized by the Museum Of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Institute Of Contemporary Art of Boston and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for its ongoing cultural importance and significance.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna while they were dating, circa 1983.

Photo by Maripol

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Keith Haring photographed by Marcus Leatherdale as Santa Claus, 1987.