Keith Haring talks about the Pop Shop:
“The Pop Shop makes my work accessible. It’s about participation on a big level.”
“If I only made paintings in a gallery I would probably be frustrated.”
“The use of commercial projects has enabled me to reach millions of people whom I would not have reached by remaining an unknown artist. I assumed, after all, that the point of making art was to communicate and contribute to culture.”
The Pop Shop opened its doors in 1986 at 292 Lafayette Street in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan, NYC. Haring saw the Pop Shop as an extension of his work, a fun boutique where his art could be accessible to everyone. The Shop sold T-shirts and novelty items with Keith’s imagery as well as some of his contemporaries, like Kenny Scharf and Jean Michel Basquiat. Haring later opened a Pop Shop in Tokyo in 1987. Haring painted the inside walls of both shops, creating an immersive experience into his aesthetic. The Pop Shop Tokyo closed in 1988 and the NYC Pop Shop location closed in September of 2005. In 2006 the exhibition Keith Haring: Art and Commerce examined the context and history of the Pop Shop, and in 2009, as part of the group exhibition Pop Life, the Tate Modern reconstructed aspects of the New York Pop Shop to recreate the feeling of the original. The original Pop Shop ceiling was donated to the New York Historical Society and is installed in its entry. An online shop continues to sell merchandise.