• Mar 09, 2022
SCHUNCK Museum opens Keith Haring: Grace House Mural exhibition with Epochal Songs dance performance

SCHUNCK Museum opens Keith Haring: Grace House Mural exhibition with Epochal Songs dance performance

  • Mar 09, 2022
On Tuesday 8 March, the Keith Haring: Grace House Mural exhibition was officially opened in SCHUNCK in Heerlen by museum director Kor Bonnema and artistic director Fabian de Kloe. Artist Jan Rothuizen and dancer and choreographer Muna Tseng - both friends of Keith Haring - also took centre stage during the opening.

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Muna Tseng arranged a special performance of Epochal Songs (1982) with a light installation as backdrop, specially designed for the exhibition by lighting architect Thomas Dunn and composers Bruce Tovsky and Tracy Wuischpard. This light installation uses the backdrop designed by Haring for the dance performance in the early 1980s. The focus of the exhibition is on the spontaneous and performative character of Haring’s oeuvre. Haring’s drawings and paintings featured widely in public spaces, such as on New York’s metro system and in the Grace House youth centre. The exhibition in SCHUNCK is the first time that the thirteen sections of the Grace House Mural have appeared in Europe.

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Muna Tseng performed Epochal Songs in the light installation. © Manor Lux

The Grace House Mural

In 1983/84, Haring created the Grace House Mural - spread over three floors - in a Catholic youth centre in New York. The dynamic figures portrayed in the mural have a flowing, simplistic character and were painted with precision - without any prior sketches - in just an hour and a half. Haring wanted to make art accessible for everyone so had a preference for painting in public spaces. During his studies at the School of Visual Arts he came into contact with graffiti and street art and went on to produce more than fifty murals himself. The Grace House painting was saved in 2016, just before the youth centre underwent renovation. Sadly, over half of Haring’s other murals have been lost.

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Jan Rothuizen speaking during the exhibition’s opening.

About Keith Haring

Keith Haring (1958 - 1990) lived and worked in New York City and still enjoys worldwide popularity today for his iconic figures and bold graphics. He found inspiration in Manhattan’s nightlife and its pulsating energy, and in the people he met in the city. His energetic and playful use of lines was his way of addressing social issues, such as racism, gay emancipation, the fight against AIDS and drug abuse. Haring died at the age of 31 from the effects of AIDS. Shortly before his death he established the Keith Haring Foundation which manages his work and estate and helps fund educational and AIDS prevention programmes.

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Sections of the Grace House Mural on display. © Manor Lux

Book publication

To coincide with the exhibition, the book Boundless Minds & Moving Bodies in 80's New York will be appearing, published by DAP and NAI010. Using much of his imagery, the book tells the story of the friendship and creative energy of performance artists Keith Haring, Tseng Kwong Chi and Muna Tseng. Click here for more information about the book.


Public programme

For the duration of the exhibition, an extensive programme of interactive activities for young and old is being put on, in collaboration with a number of various local, socially involved stakeholders. So far, more than 50 school groups in the region have reserved tickets to visit the exhibition. Other participating parties include Filmhuis de Spiegel, the Schrit_tmacher dance festival, the Nieuwe Nor pop podium and In2YourPlace. Extensive information on the programme of public activities will be available on the website at: schunck.nl/nl/keith-haring.


Keith Haring: Grace House Mural
9 March to 25 September
SCHUNCK* Glaspaleis
Bongerd 18, Heerlen
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday from 11.00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: adults 12.50 euros, students 10 euros, children free of charge.

The Keith Haring exhibition was created in collaboration with Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver, the municipality of Heerlen, the province of Limburg, Mondriaan Fonds, Fonds 21, Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, Wiertz Company and Rabobank. Following the ‘Basquiat: The Artist and His New York Scene’ exhibition in 2019, this is SCHUNCK’s second collaboration with Museum MCA Denver.

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