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The street artist’s work on display at Palazzo Medici Riccardi

A seminal artist on the New York scene in the 80s, Keith Haring’s works are showcased at Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.

Urban settings with artistic experimentation are the theme of Made in New York. Keith Haring, (Subway drawings) Paolo Buggiani and co. The true origin of Street Art, an exhibition dedicated to Keith Haring’s work, which also investigates the origins and influence of street art on contemporary culture. This spontaneous movement has appeared on walls, streets, buildings and every surface on which artists can leave codes of vision for over 40 years. It all started in New York at the end of the 70s, when the American city became the melting pot of generational movements such as graffiti, rap, skateboarding and break dance.

Keith Haring was then an unknown kid who drew with chalk on black billboards which the authorities posted over expired advertisements. Haring acted in rapid succession, illegally painting on walls under the eyes of passers-by and slipping away a moment after the execution.

His motives were simple but unique, and would soon become the beginning of a creative revolution. It all started in a basement in New York, in an ascending movement from the underground up to museums and famous art galleries. People went mad over his city blackboards, devoid of words and depicting simplified and instantly recognisable symbols. The exhibition highlights over 20 original works from those great days, saved from systematic destruction and preserved by Paolo Buggiani, the first to grasp the strength of the artist’s work.

The exhibition traces the limit between the culture of Graffiti and the umbrella term of Street Art. Artists of the likes of Banksy and Obey owe their trade to a generation that paved the way by choosing giant formats to be enjoyed by the masses. Seeking complete freedom of expression, these artists were driven by the need to experiment, which was in turn fed on irreverence and arrogance, quintessential to young people and revolutionaries.