Keith Haring

1958 - 1990

Died in New York (), born in Reading ().

The work of Keith Haring finds its origin in the alternative New York street culture at the end of the 1970s. At that time Haring was a street artist in his twenties, and not only very much contributed to the rebirth of the New York art scene in the early Eighties, but nearly single-handedly saw to the canonizing of graffiti as a legitimate artistic practice. Much of Haring’s work make use of the simple and extremely communicative power that radiates from many graffiti-paintings, but without then neglecting heavy, classical themes such as life, death and love. By initially carrying out his work in the public space, he dodges traditional art institutions like museums and galleries, which he was suspicious of. Later on in his career, as well, when he indeed became part of the art ‘circuit’, he continued to raise the banner for art’s accessibility. In 1986 Haring opened the first of his POP-SHOPS, stores where cheap, reproducible products with images of his art works were on sale. ‘High’ and ‘low’ cultures come together. This is one reason why Haring’s artistic practice was at once radical and popular.

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