Keith Haring 1958-1990


Today, the work of Keith Haring is instantly recognizable for its strong, bold black lines, bright colours and frequent use of active figures.  His work is quintessential Pop and features in public spaces and collections around the world.  The strength of his images and its consistent exposure to the public has made his work truly iconic.


Haring was raised in Kutztown, Pennsylvania and in 1978, moved to New York City to begin classes at the School of Visual Arts.  While in New York, he became immersed in the street and popular culture of New York making friends with artists such as Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat. 


In an effort to bring his artwork to a larger and truly public audience, Haring began creating chalk drawings on unused advertising panels in the New York subway system.  Between 1980 and 1985 he created hundreds of these temporary public displays, sometimes creating 40 in one day.  In 1986, Haring opened the Pop Shop in Soho which was a retail store selling various articles bearing his Pop imagery. This is another example of Haring’s wish to make his artwork accessible to the widest possible audience.


Keith Haring’s work is synonymous with the rise of Pop in the 1980’s and despite his short career, participated in over 100 exhibitions from 1978 –1990 and collaborated with artists and performers such as Warhol, Grace Jones, William S. Burroughs and Madonna.