Keith Allen Haring|
(May 4, 1958 - February 16, 1990) U.S.A.
Artist and activist
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he grew up in Kutztown and studied at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (1976-1978) and the School of Visual Arts in New York. After moving to New York City in 1978, Haring made a name for himself as his public art appeared in subways. In the early 1980s, his friendships with artists like Futura 2000, Kenny Scharf, Madonna, and Jean-Michel Basquiat gave rise to a new generation of underground art.
His first mayor exhibition was in 1982 at Tony Shafrazi's Gallery in New York. His first exhibition in Europe was in the same year in Gallerie 't Venster in Rotterdam, Holland.
Between 1982 and 1989, Haring created iconic public works in cities around the world; most notably, the famous "Crack is Wack" mural (1989) is a New York City landmark, as is Haring's work at New York City's LGBT Center (@lgbtcenternyc).
In April 1986, Haring opened the Pop Shop, a retail store in Soho from which he sold mass-produced memorabilia; although he faced criticism from the art world for his commercialization, Haring was committed to making art as widely available as possible.
In the late 1980s, Haring's work focused on the increasing toll of AIDS and the response of queer activists. Such work included some of the modern gay liberation movement's most iconic images (his poster for National Coming Out Day, for example).
"I know in my heart that it is only divine intervention that has kept me alive this long," Haring wrote in a 1987 journal entry. "I don't know if I have five months or five years, but I know my days are numbered. This is why my activities and projects are so important now. To do as much as possible as quickly as possible." Later that year, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS, and that struggle became a part of his work and his public persona.
He died in New York of Aids-related complications; he was thirty-one. Keith Haring left the world a substantial and complex body of artwork. But in addition, Keith is remembered for donating so much time and labor to the people and causes he believed in, to those who knew him and marveled at his energy.
Sources: http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ and alii
See also our Book devoted to Keith Haring, in our Living Room!