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Items belonging to category Contemporary Art - Keith Haring

Keith Haring

Keith Haring (1958-1990), born in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, was one of the major American artist of the 80's. He studied at the School of Visual Arts of New York in 1978 and 1979. He discovered there the tremendous alternative culture and met underground artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat or Madonna. His art was born from the graffiti artists' means of expression: it is similar to "tags" or "slangs". Starting from 1981, Haring covered New York subway billboards with graffiti. The same year, Tony Shafrazi organized his first exhibition. Keith Haring developed a style inspired by comics and electronic images. He mixed historical and media-friendly cultures to reach an iconography based on archetypes. Like American Pop Art artists, his art is the echo of a world marked by its own contradictions, shared between the American dream, and the social reality of racism, exclusion and violence. His work continued to evolve, and to reach international recognition, until his premature death. He spread his own images in the form of badges, tee-shirts, posters, through his "Pop shop". The artist created environments: sculptures with African totem shapes, wall paintings in public spaces etc. Above all, Keith Haring dedicated his art to causes in which he believed, such as anti-nuclear campaigns, or campaigns against South African apartheid. Between 1982 and 1989, he created no less than 50 public works, around the globe, mainly for charities, hospitals, or orphanages. As a truly engaged artist, Keith Haring participated actively to the fight against AIDS, as he was himself infected in 1988. He died of the complications of the illness in 1990, leaving behind him a profuse and singular work, which survives him thanks to numerous retrospectives, and thanks to the uninterrupted presence of his pictograms in the popular culture and by-products. His works are today conserved in the most important museums in the world.