Keith Haring, Paolo Buggiani and the origin of Street Art

The Street Art has arrived to Florence. The exhibition currently on view at Palazzo Medici Riccardi “MADE IN NEW YORK. KEITH HARING, Paolo Buggiani and co. The true origin of Street Art” will remain open until February the 6th showing how this contemporary form of art, thanks to its immediacy, became and effective means of expression for the artists who felt the need to publicly communicate a message without the use of words.
Do not expect graffiti as the ones you see these days on the streets though. Nowadays, the term “street art” to most people equivals to “graffitism”, meaning art made on the streets by people who want to leave a trace of their passage, a signature, in defiance of the rules and authority, that too often take a merely decorative connotation.
This has nothing to do with the Street Art movement, as artist Paolo Buggiani himself has said in various occasions, which was born as a form of art made in secret for the people, to communicate a political or social message, an idea exposed so that it could be accessible to everyone, confidently injected right in the middle of the city in order to infect the masses like a healthy virus.
This exhibition, in addition to giving us the chance to see the work of iconic artists of the 1970's and 80's, aims to show us the true origins of the Street Art in an attempt to clear the widely spread misconception.

On the one hand, we have the eclectic figure of Paolo Buggiani, painter, sculptor and performer, famous for his "Fire Sculptures", with which he contributed to New York Street Art in the Seventies and Eighties. A Tuscan artist more renowned abroad rather than at home, who in the Big Apple started to stage his performances: The Trojan horse, the Icarus and the Minotaur, the latter are on display in the Florentine Renaissance palace next to a group of his reptiles sculptures in sheet metal.
A large section of the exhibition displays his art, with dozens of photographs documenting his performances and installations in New York.

On the other hand, we have Keith Haring, the American artist whose stylized drawings have made him an icon of pop culture and art of the Eighties and are famous all over the world.
He started by drawing with chalk on the black banners covering the posters with outdated advertising, and it’s the very Paolo Buggiani, that sensing the creative power of these images, detaching from the walls in order to save them, about fifty of the “Subway Drawings”.
The two artists worked in the same environment and knew each other well. A proof of their friendship is the precious Haring's drawing showing us a man with wings and a dedication: “for Paul”.
Simple drawings those of Keith Haring, containing a much more complex message conveyed through a cultured synthesis that combines African, Aztecs, and Egyptian tribal figures with topics such as nuclear, homosexuality, racism and world hunger.
The exhibition starts with over 20 of these “stolen” Keith Haring's works created on subway walls, white on black, and continues with a wide section dedicated to Buggiani’s art and with art pieces by some of their collegues: Richard Hambleton, Ken Hiratsuka, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Les Levine and David Salle. Not to be missed!

Palazzo medici Riccardi - Via Camillo Cavour, 3
Tickets: 10 euro, reduced 6 euro
Open 8.30-19.00 – closed on Wednesday

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