Facts about Keith Haring

Keith Haring died at 31 years old
Born: May 4, 1958
Best known as: The 'Radiant Baby' graffiti artist who died of AIDS in 1990

     

Keith Haring Biography

Keith Haring was a New York artist who in the 1980s went from public drawings in the subway to international exhibitions and celebrity status as a friend of Madonna and Andy Warhol.

He grew up in Pennsylvania and studied commercial art for two years in the late 1970s, then moved to New York City in 1978. Haring studied at the School of Visual Arts, met fellow artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and learned about public art from guys like Christo. In the early 1980s he began a series of chalk drawings in the New York subways, sometimes doing dozens in a single day. His bold lines, “cookie cutter” figures and simple drawings became an urban fixture, and he drew the attention of Madonna, who used his designs in videos and on tour, and Warhol, who shared Haring’s pop art sensibilities.

Haring’s drawings and paintings were also a form of social activism, and he used themes of love, death and war to protest South Africa’s Apartheid and to educate people about the AIDS crisis. His retail shop in New York was a tourist destination, and his work appeared in galleries, on buildings and as merchandise. Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and died in 1990 at the age of 31.


     

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