The radiant joy of Keith Haring
Haring was part of the legendary New York art scene during the 1980s and his career took off after he started filling empty advertising spaces on the subway and the sidewalks of NYC with his unique, instantly recognisable style of drawing.
He was passionate that his work was universal, in its accessibliity and its appeal, developing an iconic visual language of simple motifs – babies, hearts and dogs – and making the city his canvas for everyone to see.
As whilst his art was simple, fun and upbeat, beneath it lay important political messages, as Haring wanted to start a conversation, question convention and represent the oppressed in society through his art.
Some of his work was overt - starting a conversation about socially important issues such as aids, apartheid, drug addition and environmentalism - and some was more subtle, but it was always full of a unique joy that gave it universal appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Haring lived in New York from 1978 until his death, aged 31, from an Aids-related illness. During his short but hugely influential lifetime he had almost 50 one-man shows, painted 45 murals including one on the Berlin Wall. And since his death the Keith Haring Foundation, which he set up in 1989 to support underprivileged children and HIV charities, has supported hundreds of youth, community, art, LBGT, safe sex and planned-parenthood projects.
His work is held by MoMA, the Whitney, the LA County Museum of Art, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and his murals can be seen in Pisa, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Antwerp, Berlin, Paris & Melbourne.
It is truly an honour to bring his art to a new generation, to bring wonder to babies and calm to parents through the radiant joy of one of the most influential artists of our time. You can view the collection here.
You can find out more about Keith Haring and the work of the Keith Haring Foundation here, and I implore you to seek out his work if you are get the chance.
Jen & Etta