Revolutionary and renegade, Keith Haring was an artist for the people, creating an instantly recognizable repertoire of symbols - barking dogs, space-ships, crawling babies, clambering faceless people - which became synonymous with the volatile culture of 1980s. Like a careening, preening pinball, Keith Haring playfully slammed into all aspects of this decade - hip-hop, new-wave, graffiti, funk, art, style, gay culture - and brought them together.
Haring's fanatical drive propelled him into the orbit of the most interesting people of his time: Jean Michel Basquiat envied him; Warhol, William Boroughs and Grace Jones collaborated with him. Madonna and he shared the same tastes in men. Famous at 25, dead from AIDS at 31, Keith Haring is remembered as a Pied Piper, an unpretentious communicator who appeared happiest when mentoring a gang of kids, arming them with brushes and attacking the nearest wall.
A series of brief biographies of the great artists, Lives of the Artists takes as its inspiration Giorgio Vasari's five-hundred-year-old masterwork, updating it with modern takes on the lives of key artists past and present. Focusing on the life of the artist rather than examining their work, each book also includes key images illustrating the artist's life. Hardbound, but pocket-sized, the books each sport a specially-commissioned portrait of their subject on the half-jacket.
About the Artist:
Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an American artist whose pop art emerged from the New York City graffiti subculture of the 1980s. His animated imagery has "become a widely recognized visual language". Much of his work includes sexual allusions that turned into social activism by using the images to advocate for safe sex and AIDS awareness. In addition to solo gallery exhibitions, he participated in renowned national and international group shows such as documenta in Kassel, the Whitney Biennial in New York, the São Paulo Biennial, and the Venice Biennale. The Whitney Museum held a retrospective of his art in 1997.
Haring's popularity grew from his spontaneous drawings in New York City subways—chalk outlines of figures, dogs, and other stylized images on blank black advertising spaces. After gaining public recognition, he created colorful larger scale murals, many commissioned. He produced more than 50 public artworks between 1982 and 1989, many of them created voluntarily for hospitals, day care centers and schools. In 1986, he opened the Pop Shop as an extension of his work. His later work often conveyed political and societal themes— anti-crack, anti-apartheid, safe sex, homosexuality and AIDS—through his own iconography.