It might surprise you to know there is only one dedicated museum to pop art legend Keith Haring, and it’s nestled somewhere high in the mountains of Japan.
If the idea of trekking to the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection sounds like a daunting venture no matter the late Keith’s talent and influence, then be happy to know the collection is now free to enjoy online through Google Arts and Culture.
Alongside a digital walk-through of the museum, art lovers can also go through 160 digitised Haring works from the 300-strong collection displayed in its physical space. Included in the virtual collection is his legendary anti-apartheid poster from 1985, along with items from the Pop Shop Tokyo, the only other store Haring opened during his lifetime aside from the original in New York City.
Slippers worn by customers in the store along with beautiful rice bowls are a few fascinating items from this Japanese version of the Pop Shop.
There are also photo-laden reads on the artist’s creative relationship with Japan, along with a look at the gorgeous forest surroundings of the museum.
It was in 2007 when the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection opened its doors in the lush nature of the Yatsugatake Mountains, within the city of Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture. Its founder Dr. Kazuo Nakamura has been collecting Haring’s works since 1987, with his museum the only in the world to principally exhibit the artworks of Keith Haring.
The virtual version of the museum was opened during the height of the pandemic in Japan, but remains online here until further notice despite the museum itself reopening to the public. If you’re able to travel and are keen to visit, then consider staying in the Hotel Keyforest Hokuto, a very striking building that’s part of the Kobuchizawa Art Village housing the Nakamura Collection. Staying in the hotel grants you free access to the museum.
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If you’re happier to stay on the couch, then we recommend watching the excellent new Keith Haring documentary on BBC iPlayer, Street Art Boy, made to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death.
You can also virtually preview an exhibition that features a Haring piece or two alongside more by his contemporary Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boston MFA’s Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.
Finally, why not play a round of UNO at home with this special Keith Haring variant on the card game?
All images above are screenshots courtesy of the online Nakamura Keith Haring Collection.
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