Keith Haring – On Exhibit

Though he died at age 31 at the height of the AIDS epidemic, artist Keith Haring (1958-1990) created an iconic body of work. Hs signature use of vibrant colors, energetic linework, and iconic characters inform all work, from his early subway drawings to public murals, sculptures and videos.

Retrospect, 1989, Screen Print, 46″ x 82″, edition of 75

An exhibition called “Art is for Everybody,” a phrase that Haring coined himself, opens in Los Angeles in May, travels to Minneapolis and arrives at the Art Gallery of Ontario in November. Featuring 120+ works and archival materials, it examines Haring’s life, artistic practice, and activism on issues ranging from nuclear proliferation to sexuality.

Many of Haring’s iconic characters ar included: The Barking Dog’s simple, cartoonish shape references Haring’s interest in Egyptian hieroglyphics. The radiant baby, a now universal image which Haring first drew on his bedroom walls in childhood, exemplifies the clean contours of his street art and graffiti.

Keith Haring, Untitled (Apartheid), 1984. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. © 2014, Keith Haring Foundation

In the 1980s, Haring set the groundwork for today’s protest artists. He was at the height of his fame when he confronted homophobic and racist prejudices surrounding the AIDs crisis by painting works with slogans like “Silence = Death” and “Ignorance = Fear.” He was also vocal on apartheid.

Haring at his last exhibition at Galerie 1900-2000/La Galerie de Poche in Paris on January 15, 1990.

The Keith Haring Foundation, here.

The Broad Museum, Los Angeles, curator of the exhibition, here.

This five-minute biographical video is worth watching.

Image credit, top of post: “Untitled” (1982), enamel and Day-glo on metal, 72 x 90 x 1 1/2 inches, courtesy The Broad Art Foundation, © Keith Haring Foundation

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