Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, American Pop artist Keith Haring rose to prominence in the late 1970s in New York, and quickly became known for his immediately recognisable ‘Street-Pop’ style. In his short lifetime, tragically cut short by AIDS related illnesses, Haring’s playful, cartoonish imagery captured the minds of the artistic milieu. By the end of his career, Haring’s work had featured in over 100 solo and group exhibitions, and artists and performers as diverse as Madonna, Grace Jones, Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol were requesting commissions and collaborations.
Haring’s distinct style, characterised by boldly outlined figures and designs, is one of the most widely recognised in the world. Over the course of his career Haring developed a recurring group of figurative designs, from radiating babies and barking dogs, to U.F.O.s and superman. Yet, whilst his imagery was ostensibly uplifting, his work often told a darker story of conflict, sexuality and mortality; social issues that Haring unabashedly confronted. A firm believer in the democratisation of art, Haring devoted much of his time to public murals, often loaded with social commentary, and produced over 50 public artworks between 1982 and 1989.
A celebrated artist in his time, Haring’s art has continued to be recognised posthumously as some of the most powerful work to emerge from the latter end of the twentieth century, and he has been the subject of several major international retrospectives, including at Tate Liverpool in 2019.