NYC///KEITH HARING’S LONG-LOST “10 COMMANDMENTS” SERIES LIVES AGAIN AT DEITCH PROJECTS

November 12, 2008  |  art, News, NYC, Openings, Origins of Style

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Opening last weekend at the massive new DEITCH PROJECTS Long Island City outpost was KEITH HARING's epic and rarely-seen “Ten Commandments” painting series, in what was one of the most impressive and timely showings of the pioneering pop artist’s work since his death in 1990. The works, originally created in 1985, portray the Ten Commandments from Haring’s point of view, combining a traditional Biblical interpretation with the artist’s liberating spirit and apocalyptic vision. The series was painted for Haring’s first solo museum show, an exhibition at the CAPC, Bordeaux, a reconverted wool warehouse with a span of twenty-five foot high archways supporting the roof. Thinking about how to best use the space, Haring was inspired to order ten tablet shaped canvases to fit within the building’s arches. While on the dance floor at the Paradise Garage the day before leaving for Bordeaux, he had a vision to paint The Ten Commandments. The artist, however, did not remember all of the biblical decrees, and he ultimately decided to interpret some of the commandments metaphorically rather than literally. For some, like the mandate “Thou Shall Not Steal,” Haring decided to portray the antithesis, and chose to portray a thief in the act. Other commandments, like “honor the Sabbath,” were given a more abstract visual treatment. Additionally, Haring used the color red, which he viewed as a representation of power in all its forms, both good and bad, to link the imagery throughout the ten panels. This is the first time that The Ten Commandments have been exhibited in the United States as the works remained in France following their creation. Given the current state of the world, they couldn’t have resurfaced at a more appropriate time. HAVE A LOOK:

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Haring hard at work painting the Commandments in 1985

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The commandments in their new home, 23 years later

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An additional piece created for the 1985 installation stands the test of time

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The view from the gallery's front window...

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