Before Banksy, there was Keith Haring. Best known for his iconic cartoon-like human figures, Haring decorated subways and sidewalks, both reflecting and practicing New York street life of the '80s. As his international fame grew, the street artist's pop figures appeared everywhere -- on walls, found objects, canvases, and even Madonna's jacket.
In 1986 Haring opened his Pop Shop in New York to sell works printed on commercial objects like buttons and t-shirts. Two years later, he opened an international version in Tokyo, a space made out of two shipping containers welded together to form one large room. By the summer of 1988, the Tokyo shop closed. Haring was quoted saying, “there are just too many Haring fakes available all over Tokyo and, this time, they’re really well done.” After 20 years of business, the New York Pop Shop closed when rent became too high. New York Magazine quotes Amy Cappellazzo, then the co-head of contemporary art at Christie's, 'This is such an end of an era,' she said of the shop's folding, 'Once you can’t walk on Lafayette and see the shop, it’s the end of personal nostalgia, and the beginning of history.'
Now you can see a rotating display of the objects sold in his Tokyo Pop Shop at the New York Historical Society. The ceiling of the Haring's New York Pop Shop hangs over the Society's admissions entrance, and the exhibit will display a number of objects on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation.
Keith Haring's Tokyo Pop Shop will be on view at the New-York Historical Society until June 2, 2013.
Correction: An earlier edition of this article stated Keith Haring closed his New York Pop Up Shop when rent became too high. The shop was closed after Haring's death. We regret the error.