In Paris, one is constantly bumping in to Keith Haring. Not the man himself–usually it’s just advertisements and posters about the well-received exhibit “Keith Haring: The Political Line” at the Musée d’Art Moderne and Centquatre. But Keith Haring’s work can also be found in some surprising places in Paris, from the church at St. Eustache to a hospital.
The exhibit at Centquatre combines some of Haring’s most recognizable and cherished works, as well as vibrant and relatively unknown pieces. During his career in the late ’70s until his death in the early ’90s, Haring’s pieces were enriched with critiques of society, consumerism and capitalism, and this is exactly what the exhibit wishes to bring to light. It is quite extensive, spanning many rooms, and is brilliantly curated, juxtaposing paintings with masks, pottery, videos, photographs, and even the occasional Christmas gift given by Haring to friends.
But where else is it possible to see Haring’s work in Paris? Of course, Haring can still be found in many galleries throughout the city, especially with the hype surrounding the exhibit.
Today you can still see the enormous fresco on the emergency staircase of Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades that Haring painted in 1987. Haring donated this piece in hopes of brightening the spirits of sick children in the world’s first pediatric hospital. As the hospital was set to undergo a total renovation, there was action needed to save Haring’s mural. Last April, Sotheby’s held an auction in conjunction with the Haring Foundation of New York, the Paris Hospitals Board, and gallery owner Jérôme de Noirmont to raise money for the restoration of Haring’s mural at the Hôpital Necker.
In addition, a beautiful Haring sculpture called “The Life of Christ” is permanently located at the Saint-Eustache Church near Les Halles in the first arrondissement. This might come as a surprise, since Haring was openly gay. Although homosexuality is not supported by the Catholic Church, the triptych was donated to the church by the Haring Foundation of New York in 2003 and has been standing there ever since.
Also check out our article on Keith Haring’s mural inside the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City. Haring’s Crack is Whack mural in East Harlem is on the list of Art Nerd New York’s Top 10 Street Art Hotspots. Additional reporting by Laura Itzkowitz.