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The night that the artist Keith Haring danced acid house in the best nightclub in Barcelona

The night that the artist Keith Haring danced acid house in the best nightclub in Barcelona


At number 27 Atenes Street. Almost on the corner of Avenida del General Miter. In the exclusive neighborhood of Sant Gervasi. Today it is a billiard room named Billars ARS. In the late 1980s, known as Ars Studio, one of the best clubs that Barcelona has never had. The room you had to go to if you wanted to keep up with what was going on in the nascent club culture scene at the time. They say that during the week he was in Barcelona in February 1989, the urban artist Keith Haringwas seduced every night by the house and acid music that flowed from the decks of Cesar de Melero.

art for everyone

Cesar Manuel De Melero Soblechero He was born in Barcelona in 1965. He was only 14 when he packed his bags and left for that promised land that was then Ibiza. Over time he would end up becoming one of the most prominent DJs on the island, father of that unique sound that he became known as balearic beat. Man behind the decks of venues of the magnitude of Ku (currently Privilege), Amnesia, Pachá or Space, essential venues for understanding the evolution and emergence of electronic music, De Melero combined his stages in the Balearic Islands with residences in the most selected from Barcelona. In February 1989, when Ketih Haring goes enters for the first time, melero It was behind the plates. During the week he was in Barcelona, ​​the graffiti artist went up to Sant Gervasi every night.


Cesar de Melero on the decks of the Ars Studio room in Barcelona. Photo – Cesar de Melero

Keith Haring was born in Reading, a small city in the state of Pennsylvania, one day in May 1958. An art student, he became fascinated by graffiti when he moved to New York. “The public has the right to art, most contemporary artists ignore the public, art is for everyone,” he said in the manifesto he signed, discovering what art was for him. halfway between the art pop and the urban artwas a figure very close to totems of the two styles such as Andy Warhol Y Jean-Michel Basquiat. When that 1989 he visited us to participate in the ARCO fair he already stood out as one of the definitive artists of the end of the 20th century.

Do you know Keith Haring?

During your stay in Barcelona, Keith Haring he drew a mural in a square in the heart of the Raval, although it was still known as Chinatown at the time and its sidewalks were a nursery for all kinds of creatures, both strange and fascinating, and its corners were cemeteries of syringes and condoms. haring opted for a wall in the Salvador Seguí square. A monumental drawing in red ink entitled: All together we can stop AIDS. Only a few months later, the artist died a victim of the great pandemic of the 1980s. He also died the great Barcelona work of him victim of the many reforms that the city underwent on its way to the 1992 Olympics. Things of visionary bureaucrats. Today, next to the MACBA, there is a replica of the original to which foreigners who descend from cruise ships or Easy Jet planes are going to be photographed, believing it to be the original.


Keith Haring in Barcelona

The same day that Haring painted his mural in the Raval, he had dinner at the La Parra tavern, at 3 Calle Joanot Martorell in the Sants neighbourhood. Later he went back up to Sant Gervasi, to dance acid house in the Ars Studio. The American artist had already gone the night before. “He was DJing in the booth and someone said to me: ‘Do you know Keith Haring?’ The vanguard. “I went out and there he was, with the little face of someone who is not allowed in, his glasses… I told the doorman to lift the cord and once inside I took him to the bar and bought him a champagne.” The next day DJ and artist met again. In fact, it was Melero who videotaped Haring’s artistic intervention in the Raval.

A for acid

The one in Ravcal was not, however, the only mural that haring painted on Barcelona. Grateful for his hospitality, the last night he was in town he showed up at the disco Ars Studio with the same pot of red paint with which he had painted his Raval mural. He leaves behind the DJ and while house music beats ooze from the decks, he draws a big flower man.


Two polaroids of Keith Haring retrating his visit to Barcelona in February 1989

A typical Ketih Haring work: a human silhouette surrounded by waves that give it a certain sense of movement. A work culminated with an A on the chest of the outline. An A for Acid. From acidhouse. And it is so, ‘acid’as the iconic North American artist baptized a work that, yes, still shines in its original enclave and that today has transcended that the Government has declared Cultural Asset of National Interest.

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