One of the key figures in the New York art world of the 1980s, Keith Haring (1958–1990) created a signature style that blended street art, graffiti, Pop, and cartoon elements to unique, memorable effect. With typically chunky, thick black lines; bright, clashing colors; and kinetic figures signifying unity, his murals, canvases, and site-specific installations have become stalwarts of popular visual culture.
From his first subway graffiti, through his favored “Radiant Baby” symbol, and later pieces inspired by big brands such as Coca-Cola and Lucky Strike, Haring’s work eschewed the manic work ethic of 1980s New York for a more socially conscious practice. Belying their bright, playful aesthetics, his pieces often tackled intense socio-political issues, including anti-apartheid, commercialism, and the increasing impact of AIDS on New York’s gay scene, foreboding his own death from the disease in 1990.
In this vivid introduction, we explore the life and innovation of this singular artist, who spent little more than a decade in the spotlight, but in his installations and public art pieces, as well as his studio-based practice, created something of enduring celebration.