KEITH
HARING

In the vibrant art scene of 1980s New York’s East Village, Keith Haring emerged alongside fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and Jenny Holzer. He straddled the divide between the art realm and the streets, leaving his mark on city subways and sidewalks before fully embracing studio work. Melding cartoon allure with the raw energy of Art Brut practitioners like Jean DuBuffet, Haring cultivated a distinctive pop-graffiti style.

Living and working in the East Village in New York, Keith Haring had a large social circle, which included many artists and performers who were part of the same underground art scene. This included people such as Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, and he frequently worked with them. With growing recognition and popularity, his collaborations expanded to involve other artists, musicians, and fashion designers, such as Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. Haring’s collaboration with Grace Jones innovatively combined art and fashion. He painted Grace Jones’ body with his graffiti for music performances and also featured in her music video I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect For You). Haring formed a close friendship with Madonna and, when he was invited to her wedding, he took Andy Warhol as his plus one.

His creations featured dynamic figures with bold outlines set against solid or patterned backgrounds. Themes of exploitation, oppression, substance abuse, and the looming spectre of nuclear catastrophe pervaded his art. Haring fearlessly tackled social concerns, particularly after his AIDS diagnosis in 1987. His artworks now command seven-figure sums at auctions and have headlined individual exhibitions at prestigious venues like the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Albertina Museum in Vienna.

KEITH
HARING

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