New York Artist Keith Haring – Twenty Years Later


 was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s.

February 16th, 1990, the pop artist died is  HIV / AIDS related causes at the age of 31. But his art still lives on.

Haring achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways of New York (see public art). The exhibitions were filmed by the photographer Tseng Kwong Chi.

Around this time, “The Radiant baby” became his symbol. His bold lines, vivid colors, and active figures carry strong messages of life and unity. Starting in 1980, he organized exhibitions in Club 57. He participated in the Times Square Exhibition and drew, for the first time, animals and human faces. In 1981 he sketched his first chalk drawings on black paper and painted plastic, metal and found objects.

By expressing concepts of birth, death, love, sex and war, Haring’s imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century. In December 2007, an area of the American Textile Building in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City was discovered to contain a painting of Haring’s from 1979. May 4 2008 would have been Haring’s 50th birthday. In June 2008 there was a retrospective exhibition containing 200 pieces of his work (from the collection of Sigrid Wecken) open to the public in Terrassa, Spain.

(Amazing  shot of Keith painting Grace Jones by Douglas Kirkland!)

The Keith Haring Foundation was established in 1989 to assist AIDS-related and children’s charities, and maintains the largest resource of archives on the late artist, Keith Haring.


Haring’s bold lines and active figures carry poignant messages of vitality and unity. His legacy made an impact on late 20th century art and grants us all a vision for the future.

Keith  generously contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. The foundation  continues his philanthropic legacy…indefinitely.

Visit the Keith Haring site.


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