October 25, 2019

Conference: "Keith Haring: Art and Activism in 1980s New York"

Tate Liverpool

View of Keith Haring, Tate Liverpool. © Tate Liverpool (Mark McNulty).

On Thursday–Friday November 7–8, Tate Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) are hosting "Keith Haring: Art and Activism in 1980s New York," a two-day conference convened by Dr Michael Birchall LJMU and Tate Liverpool, and Dr Emma Vickers, LJMU.

Keith Haring developed his practice at a time of immense social change. From the end of the cold war and up to the rise of neoliberalism, he became an artist who would actively campaign for social justice. Working in New York and internationally, Haring engaged in collaborations with communities, artists and musicians to generate visual material that demonstrated his activist sprit. He is perhaps best known for his activism around HIV/AIDS, creating posters and drawings such as the iconic Silence = Death (1989).

This conference presents a range of perspectives on Haring’s life and crucially new scholarship from academics, artists, curators and writers. Speakers include leading experts in their fields: Dagmawi Woubshet (University of Pennsylvania), Fiona Anderson (Newcastle University, UK), Ricardo Montez and Ted Kerr (The New School), Leah Pines (Brown University), Natalie Phillips (Ball State University, Indiana), and, Amy Raffel and Ed Webb-Ingall (Independent scholars). As a result of their on-going residency with Tate Liverpool and the Keith Haring Foundation, LA-based artist Patrick Staff will present an audio-visual contribution as a culmination of their research at the Haring Archive.

As well as academic papers, there will also be an opportunity for discourse in panel discussions and breakout sessions. Throughout the two days, a range of themes will be explored, and this includes: the political implications of alternative communities in New York; the significance of cultural production around HIV/AIDS; and the complexities of race, desire and queer genealogies.

Supported by The Keith Haring Foundation and Liverpool John Moores University with additional support from US Embassy, London and British Association for American Studies.

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