Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ketih Haring's Ten Commandments @Deitch Studios

Keith Haring's Ten Commandments is something I always thought I'd have to travel to France to check out. But now it's on display at Deitch Studios in New York. Deitch Studios is the new Long Island City (Queens, NYC) outpost of Deitch Projects, which is one of my favorite galleries in NYC. They always work big and encourage their artists to fully utilize their spaces.

In 1985 Keith was invited to show at the Bordeaux Museum in France. They let him take over the entire building with his drawings and paintings. He requested the lower level as well, which is a huge space with five arches. He asked them to build canvases back to back that would fit into the five arches which he would then paint on site. He couldn't think of anything to paint on them until the weekend before the show when he realized it would be ten canvases so he decided to paint the ten commandments. By the time he finished installing his show he only had three days to paint all ten huge paintings. The following is from his biography...

Finally, I concentrate on the ten panels. It's three days to the opening. The museum personnel get nervous. I begin on my Ten Commandments--and I worked like crazy, longer than I ever worked before. I knew I could do it physically. The problem was staying awake! At the end, I was taking amphetamines--it was the only thing that kept me going. Well, by the third day, the ten paintings were done. It was a major accomplishment but I was a wreck!

A view of him painting it in 1985...

And here's an interview with Keith Haring by Sylvie Couderc, at the time of his show in Bordeaux.

Haring's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is also on display at Deitch.


Deitch Studios can be reached by taking either the E or V Train to the 23rd Street/Ely,
the G train to LIC/Court Square or the 7 train to 45 Road/Court House Square.
Walk down 44th drive to the water's edge.
Deitch Studios is located on the left hand side.
They are open Thursdays - Sundays 2-8 pm

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