New York City, NY
United States
1047 Amsterdam Ave., Medical Bay of nave National AIDS Memorial at Cathedral of St. John the Devine since 9 November 1985
Haring’s Altar Piece
When the late great Keith Haring finally succumbed to feeling the sickness of HIV, he made one last art work. In January of 1990, just one month before his death, he created this piece in an unlikely subject for him- religion. The massive bronze 5 x 8 triptych altar piece is finished in white gold leaf, and shows scenes from the life of Christ- in classic Haring figures. It weighs a heft 600 lbs and is an edition of 9 with 2 APs (others are in museums). His iconic baby figures become an infant Christ held in a series of arms. But instead of the usual Birth of Christ serenity, Haring’s piece feels angry (and reminds me of the violence of the dead in Jan Van Eyck’s “Last Judgement”), with the witnesses to the birth seeming to move with flailing arms and clenched fists. But I suppose this aggressive feel is completely understandable, coming from the last moments of desperation before Haring knew HIV/AIDs would get the better of him. In that, the piece is very, very sad to me.
Photo © Glenn Belverio Art Nerd

23 May 2013
Lori Zimmer, Brooklyn, New York City