New York

Keith Haring

Whitney Museum of American Art

The cranky reaction of certain critics to the Keith Haring retrospective—in The New Yorker, Kurt Andersen remarked that Haring’s “barking dogs, glowing babies, and jaunty everypeople are not much more than pleasant downtown wallpaper”—is reminiscent of the kind of response “serious” people usually reserve for bubblegum music. Like, say, the unapologetically feel-good, populist confections of teen sensation Hanson, whose ubiquitous “MMMBop,” was a Top Ten hit the week that the Whitney show opened. Had Haring been alive today, instead of dead from AIDS in 1990 at what now seems like the impossibly early age of thirty-one, he probably wouldn’t have minded being coupled with Tiger Beat–style pinups, despite his never-quite-realized quest to be taken seriously by the art establishment. After all, as a pubescent in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Haring make a crude collage on lined notebook paper

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