Keith Haring’s early drawings get first showing

A small private collection of early drawings gifted by the late American pop artist Keith Haring are being shown for the first time in public.

The drawings, in postcard or A4 format, belong to a Singapore family who lived in New York’s East Village in the early 1980s where the then 22-year old Haring would sometimes babysit 3-year old Ian Castronovo. Over the years, the artist gave drawings, as well as a number of other items of memorabilia, such as a shearling wool hat that is decorated with Haring’s signature logo of a crawling baby.

The exhibition “X-Roads,” opening 12 October at John Erdos Art, includes 10 works by Haring dating from between 1980-1987, 10 “collaboration” drawings between Haring and the young Castronovo, as well as 10 sculptures and painting by Castronovo, now 35 and an artist based in Berlin.

“These works, like the one saying ‘good-bye chickenpox’ were made before Haring became very big, at the cusp of stardom. They were made primarily for Ian. For example, after the child recovered from chickenpox,” explained Woon Tai Ho, an art writer who helped put the exhibition together.

Haring apparently enjoyed collaborating with children on drawings. “Usually he would draw something first and let the child add a little something,” Woon said.

“After all these years, the paper condition for these works is very good. Ms. Cheong used to work for Christie's and she specialized in Japanese paper art, so she kept them in pristine condition,” Woon remarked, referring to Castronovo’s mother, Cheong Mee Din.

Woon says the family also has many photographs taken with Haring, as well as correspondence and some memorabilia dedicated to the family, like brochures of his exhibitions and a personal calendar. These are not for sale, but Haring’s and Castronovo’s works are, with prices for the former prices starting at $18,000 onwards

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