One of the leading figures in the New York art world of the 1980s, Keith Haring (1958–1990) was an American artist and social activist known for his illustrative depictions of figures and symbols. Inspired by graffiti artists, he began drawing in the subways and on the sidewalks of New York City; filling empty poster spaces with chalk drawings which people would walk past every day.
His aim was to make art accessible to everyone and these works allowed him to interact with a diverse audience. His signature style that blended street art, graffiti, a Pop sensibility, and cartoon elements was eventually seen everywhere from public murals and nightclubs to galleries and museums around the world.
Much of his work responded to contemporary social and political events, tackling some hard-hitting and challenging subjects concerning people, not just in America but, around the world: exploitation, drug abuse, rising fears of nuclear holocaust.
He produced more than 50 public artworks between 1982 and 1989, many were created voluntarily for hospitals, day care centers, and schools.
In 1986, Haring opened a retail store called the Pop Shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. The shop sold posters, T-shirts and other affordable items featuring Haring’s signature designs.In the same year, the Checkpoint Charlie Museum invited him to paint on the Berlin Wall.
His art continues to appeal strongly to viewers , thanks to its recognizable style, unique embrace of the most joyous aspects of human experience, and the intense engagement with political and social realities.
The author of the book is Alexandra Kolossa who studied art history, German literature, and business administration in Trier. She earned her doctorate in 2003. Since 1998 she has been a freelance author and contemporary art exhibition curator. She lives and works in Düren, Germany.
by Alexandra Kolossa
Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 0.57 kg, 96 pages