The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring

Written by Duane Wells

Stepping into the Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles for the new exhibit showcasing the work of the late Keith Haring recalls a mixture of emotions. On the one hand, there is the sense of eccentric, idiosyncratic giddiness that has always gone hand in glove with pop art, in general, and with Haring’s work, in particular. On the other, there is the element of the show, embodied in large part by the symbolism that would mark Haring’s later work, that recalls a clarion call for change in the midst of one of the darkest periods in modern gay life.

It seems only fitting then that given its ability to provoke and inspire, like the man who created it, Haring’s work continues to be as celebrated as it was during his life. The artist’s legacy is not only a body of work that became synonymous with AIDS awareness and advocacy in the late 1980’s but also the pioneering work of the foundation he established in his own name to provide funding and imagery to AIDS-related charity organizations and children’s programs.

More than three decades after his death, Haring’s work is exhibited in a new light at the Petersen with “The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring.” Presented by BMW of North America, the exhibit is the first to bring together five automotive works of art by Keith Haring.

Take a look at some of these amazing works of art on the next page.

1962 SCAF Mortarini by Keith Haring

Included in the display, which is a bit of a timeline of the artist himself, is a 1962 SCAF/Mortarini Mini Ferrari 330 P-2, a 1963 Buick Special, a 1971 Land Rover Series III 109 Station Wagon, 1987 Honda CBR1000F Hurricane motorcycle, and a 1991 BMW Z1. Colorful, whimsical and filled with vibrancy, each of the works is emblazoned with the singular iconography that has now become not only Haring’s hallmark, but the emblem of an era.

1963 Buick Special by Keith Haring

The exhibit will run through Sunday, June 4th, 2017.


1987 Honda CBR1000F Hurricane motorcycle by Keith Haring

Click here for the Petersen Automotive Museum and its upcoming exhibitions. For more information on Keith Haring, please visit

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