Screen print on wove paper
42.5 x 46.5 Inches
Edition of 33
Blueprint Drawing No 17 by Keith Haring
About the Artist
Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist responding to New York City’s street culture of the 1980s. His work is about birth, death, sex and war – very fitting for the period in which he lived and worked. Keith Haring was openly gay at a time when most non-heterosexuals kept their sexual proclivities behind closed doors. Part of Haring’s importance as an artist was how his art raised awareness of AIDS. Many of his works were featured in the Red Hot Organization’s efforts to raise money for AIDS research and AIDS awareness. Keith Haring himself died of AIDS in 1990 at age 32.
Keith Haring was born and grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania with his parents and three younger sisters. His father, Allen Haring, was a cartoonist who may have been an inspiration for him to pursue his artistic talents and certainly influenced his son’s work.
The artist’s first work that garnered attention was his public art painted in the New York City subways. These renderings were more akin to Pop art than Street Art. Perhaps they could best be described as Pop Art on the street.It was at this time that his work “The Radiant Baby” became symbolic of the artist. This image, with its bold lines, vivid colors, and dynamic pose, expresses profound messages of life and unity.n 1980, Haring organized shows in New York City’s Club 57 and for the first time started drawing animals and human faces. He also pasted provocative collages around the city made from cut up and reassembled headlines from the New York Post.
In 1982, having become a well known activist-artist, he formed friendships with the likes of Madonna, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Between 1982 and 1989 he had over 50 public works in many countries around the world. In 1986, he created his famous mural, “Crack is Wack,” on a handball court in East Harlem. In the same year, he met Andy Warhol who became the theme of many works including Andy Mouse. These relationships, particularly with Andy Warhol, proved to be a strong factor in his future success.
Keith Haring opened up a retail store in SOHO called Pop Shop and his themes became more socio-political including anti-apartheid, AIDS awareness and the crack cocaine epidemic. This work sometimes featured influences of commercial brands such as Absolut vodka, Lucky Strike cigarettes and Coca-Cola strengthening the activist theme of a particular work and decidedly moving him back into the genre of Pop Art.
Keith Haring died of complications from AIDS February 16, 1990. He lived a short, full life. His life as an activist and artist was very much a part of the time in which he lived. He will continue to live on through his prolific public art and drawings, as well as his generous Foundation.
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