Last Sunday I visited the Peterson Automotive Museum on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The automotive museum is currently hosting and exhibiting the “Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring.” The exhibition is composed of a five-piece display with each vehicle bearing drips of paint which capture his quick and fluid technique, a prominent signature of Haring’s work. He is also highly recognized for his “pop art style,” in which he uses broad stick figure-like characters, dancing people, and barking dogs. Haring painted these automobiles on display between 1982 and 1990, including four cars and one motorcycle. The cars on display included a 1990 BMW Z1, 1963 Buick Special, 1971 Land Rover III 109 Station Wagon, 1962 Mortarini Ferrari 330, and one of the fastest motorcycles of the times a 1987 Honda CBR 1000F. The unconventional canvases displayed in the museum are also accompanied by a collection of photos that document his work in progress.
My favorite piece on display is the 1971 Land Rover. It was a large, military green, four-wheel drive vehicle that looked perfectly suited for an off road adventure in the Savannah. The vehicle was painted by Keith Haring in 1983 after a photographer at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland asked him to paint the vehicle for him. The vehicle is adorned with many broad stick figure-like characters dancing, flipping, and running around together- keeping with the spirit of the jazz festival. Every piece of the vehicle is used as Haring’s canvas as he quickly and expertly draws figures in black paint. His relatively pedestrian and simple figures capture your attention and forces you to look all over the vehicle as you admire all the different images Haring manages to fit on the surface of the vehicle.
|1962 Ferrari 330|
|1971 Land Rover|
|1963 Buick Special|