The recently renovated Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles displayed a unique art car once owned by renowned graffiti artist-turned New York art scene wunderkind and symbol of the 1980’s AIDS crisis, Keith Haring. The car in question is a Land Rover Series IIa 109 Station Wagon that Haring owned and decorated with his trademark cartoon figures. Until now, the vehicle has never before been publicly displayed, although it can be glimpsed in the Haring documentary, "The Universe of Keith Haring."
Haring painted the Series IIa in 1983. Curators at the Petersen Museum recently acquired the Land Rover on loan in order to further the museum's initiative to feature cars as art. The classic 4x4 is fully adorned with Haring's stylized, graffiti-style figure drawings. The shapes communicate themes of "birth, death, sexuality and war."
Haring achieved legendary status in the New York and international art world in the 1980’s for his socially conscious graffiti and street art. One of his most famous pieces is the Crack Is Wack mural, painted at an uptown handball court, without any permission form the city. That piece is now a protected historical icon and reminder of both the good and the bad things that occurred during those decades. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, Haring passed away from his illness in 1990. He left behind a legacy of work that has much in common with the classic Land Rover. Made for the masses, and still relevant decades after its inception.
The Haring Land Rover will be on display in the lobby of the Petersen until the end of 2016.
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