New York in the late 1970s was a depressed city, on the brink of bankruptcy and almost wholly overrun by criminal gangs. In the south of the city, and particularly south of 14th Street and east of Greenwich Village, the East Village neighbourhood attracted many artists looking for cheap housing. 

It was in this cultural renewal that the city’s communities met, and that hip-hop, the art world and the world of rock and punk would intersect. This exceptional environment gave birth to Keith Haring’s unique artistic approach.

Three contemporaries of that time will be talking to us about their experience and relationships with Keith Haring: they are Leonard Abrams (editor of The East Village Eye from 1979 to 1987), Dany Johnson (DJ at Club 57 and the Mudd Club), and Gil Vasquez (President of the Keith Haring Foundation and former DJ). 

Moderator: Yannick Franck 

Did you know?


    The visual legacy of American artist Keith Haring mirrors the zeitgeist of a decade and that of a continent. His cartoon-like characters, vivid colours and barking dogs became world famous, but there is more than meets the eye. He satirised national and international politics, he enlivened the eighties party scene and he carried the national – and a personal – fight against AIDS, which he ultimately lost in 1990. BOZAR looks back on the eventful life and work of the American legend in a major retrospective. Here's a sneak peek in five facts.  

    — published on