Kutztown University proudly unveiled Keith Haring’s Liberty Banner from the disused water tower located behind Old Main. Due to high winds the banner was taken down so damage would not occur. Measuring 90’ x 30’, the banner stretches to approximately twelve stories tall. This marks only the third time that the piece has seen significant public exposure. The banner is part of the exhibition on display at the Reading Public Museum until August 6 entitled, Journey of the Radiant Baby that features over a hundred of Haring’s works.
There will be a commemorative celebration on April 28th, for the banner featuring speakers from the University and participants from the City Kids organization.
The Liberty Rally and Party will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on the DMZ. Festivities will feature: break dancing, hip hop performers and music, graffiti artists, food, a free speech area, and Keith Haring free giveaways.
Born in Reading and raised in Kutztown, Haring became one of the world’s most renowned artists during the 1980’s. Expressing himself artistically in a highly stylized manner that plays with archetypal symbols, his paintings have an undeniable appeal to all those who view them. Based out of New York, Haring transcended cultural boundaries, traveling the globe leaving his mark on church walls of Italy, the Berlin wall, and rooftops of Tokyo.
The Liberty Banner was completed in 1986 with the help of the City Kids organization, a non-profit group that provides programming and social awareness activities for urban youth in New York City. After painting the outlines of the picture, the banner was laid out and over a thousand children took part in filling it in with images and messages that represented their individual ideas of liberty. Upon its completion, the work was hung in Battery Park City in New York, at the southern tip of Manhattan looking out at Lady Liberty herself. Since then, the banner was displayed at the halftime show of the 2002 Super Bowl and is only now being made available again for general public viewing.
As a gay artist, Haring’s pieces tended to show themes of unity, humanism, and unrestricted love throughout. The simplistic figures that Haring draws represent the everyman, portrayed in a spectrum of diverse colors. Taking his role of artist seriously, Haring used his position to bring attention to social themes such as Aids awareness and anti-drug campaigns. Displaying the Liberty Banner on campus is a statement in support of not only the art work itself, but of the diversity and harmony that Keith Harring heralded.
Keith Haring's Liberty Banner Photo Album