• Feb 15, 2022
SCHUNCK Museum presents exhibition Keith Haring: Grace House Mural
Keith Haring in his Broome St Kitchen with Customized Appliances by Kenny Scharf, New York, 1984 Photograph: Tseng Kwong Chi © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc.

SCHUNCK Museum presents exhibition Keith Haring: Grace House Mural

  • Feb 15, 2022
On 9 March 2022, SCHUNCK Museum in Heerlen will open the exhibition Keith Haring: Grace House Mural. The exhibition will present early works (1980 - 1984) by the celebrated American artist Keith Haring, largely consisting of paintings and drawings he made in public spaces, such as the New York subway system.

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The focus of the exhibition is on the spontaneous and performative nature of Haring's oeuvre. It will be the first time that the thirteen wall panels of the Grace House Mural are shown in Europe. The exhibition also reflects the intimate collaboration and friendship between Haring, photographer Tseng Kwong Chi and choreographer Muna Tseng in New York in the 1980s. 

 Keith Haring - Figure II.jpg

Keith Haring artwork copyright © Keith Haring Foundation 

The Grace House Mural 

Haring made the Grace House Mural – spread over three floors – in a Catholic youth centre in New York City in 1983/84. The dynamic figures in the mural have a fluid and simple character and were painted with precision—without any prior sketching by the artist—in an hour and a half. Haring wanted to make art accessible to everyone and therefore he preferred to paint in public spaces. While studying at the School of Visual Arts he came into contact with graffiti and street art. During his lifetime he would eventually create more than fifty murals himself. Just before the youth centre was to be renovated in 2016, the mural was saved. Unfortunately, more than half of Haring's other murals have been lost. 

Subway drawings 

During the 1980s, Haring drew his famed subway drawings in the train stations around the city, with the subway passengers witnessing the process as a chance audience. Aware of the spectacle he was creating, Haring asked his friend, photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, to photograph him while he was drawing. The drawings give a vivid impression of the often social and topical themes in Haring's work, such as nuclear energy, television culture, and other popular iconography. The exhibition features seven subway drawings, accompanied by Tseng's photographs of Haring drawing in the subway. 



Haring in the New York subway (1983). Photos: Tseng Kwong Chi © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc. Artwork: © Keith Haring Foundation 

Epochal Songs 

Dance and movement are well-known motifs in Haring's visual language. Less well known is that he made various set pieces for the dance performance Epochal Songs (1982) from dancer and choreographer Muna Tseng (sister of Tseng Kwong Chi). For the exhibition at SCHUNCK Museum, a dynamic installation has been created that brings the dance performance back to life. This installation is the result of a collaboration between Muna Tseng, lighting designer Thomas Dunn, and composers Bruce Tovsky and Tracy Wuischpard. Five original drawings by Haring for Epochal Songs will also be shown.

About Keith Haring 

Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) lived and worked in New York City and is still admired across the world for his iconic figures and bold graphic style. He found inspiration in the nightlife and unbridled social energy of Manhattan and the people he met in the city. With his energetic and playful use of lines, he addressed social themes such as racism, gay emancipation, the fight against AIDS and drug abuse. Keith Haring died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 31. Shortly before his death, he founded the Keith Haring Foundation, which manages his archive and legacy, and funds projects related to  education and the prevention of AIDS.  

Book publication  

Simultaneously with the exhibition, the book Boundless Minds & Moving Bodies in 80's New York will be published by publishers DAP and nai010. The richly illustrated book recounts the friendship and creative energy of the performative artists Haring, Tseng Kwong Chi and Muna Tseng.  

Public programme

During the run of the exhibition, a broad programme of interactive activities for young and old will be organised in cooperation with various local societal partners. More than 50 school classes from the region have already signed up to visit the exhibition. Participating parties include Filmhuis de Spiegel, dance festival Schrit_tmacher, pop music venue Nieuwe Nor and In2YourPlace. Moreover, there will be a live performance of Epochal Songs by Muna Tseng. 

Keith Haring: Grace House Mural 

9 March - 26 September 
SCHUNCK Glaspaleis 
Bongerd 18 in Heerlen 

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm. 

Admission: adults € 12.50, students € 10, children free.  

The exhibition about Keith Haring was created in collaboration with Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver, the province of Limburg, the municipality of Heerlen, Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Cultural Heritage Agency, and Wiertz Company. For SCHUNCK this is the second collaboration with Museum MCA Denver after the exhibition 'Basquiat: The Artist and His New York Scene' in 2019.