It’s true: When Keith Haring was working on his first solo museum exhibit in 1985, he envisioned using the Ten Commandments to occupy the archways of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux—but then, as he was about to begin painting, he couldn’t remember what they were and had to consult a Bible. Using 25-foot-tall tablet-shaped canvases, the unconventional Haring (who attended Christian camp as a boy in Kutztown, Pennsylvania) strayed from incorporating the literal sense into some pieces and instead went the metaphorical route; in others, he painted the opposite of what the Commandments say (for instance, “Thou Shall Not Steal” features someone stealing). Twenty-three years have passed since the creation of this series, but today, the exhibition will make its U.S. debut in the high-ceilinged space at Deitch Studios along with Haring’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, his 1984 painting that was used as the curtain for the Ballet National de Marseilles’s production of the same title.
Nov. 8-Feb. 15, 2 p.m., 2008
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 5, 2008