The Tops of Tribeca
BY Lawrence Ferber
August 01 2009 12:00 AM ET
Christina Clausen’s The Universe of Keith
Haring mines the pop artist’s life via an
impressive collection of footage and voices.
It’s not always flattering, especially
Haring’s laughably pretentious, early School of
Visual Arts video performance pieces (in one, a tribute
to his father, he speaks in morse code), while many of
Haring’s surviving friends and family members
expound upon his brief yet prolific existence and
work, including Bill T. Jones, Kenny Scharf, and Fab 5
Freddy. It’s fascinating, and a compulsory
viewing, but Clausen’s attempts to steer clear
of PBS style, through flashy sound effects that punctuate
the talking heads, make it irritatingly MTV-style
instead. And, sadly, while Haring’s close
friend Madonna appears in archival materials -- including
priceless footage of her first public appearance, wearing a
Haring-painted outfit to boot -- no new interview is
There was modern
day Madonna at Tribeca nonetheless, and as with the
music charts, she went head to head with Mariah Carey on the
film lineup. Madge swung by in the flesh (to many a
paparazzi popping) with her Malawi documentary, I
Am Because We All Are, while Carey played a singer
in the drama, Tennessee.
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