His influences ranged from Jean Dubuffet to William Burroughs and Andy Warhol, especially in the latter’s lifestyle which maintained art and life inseparably. Haring aimed to make his art public and did so by painting murals with a social message. An interest in fashion was also integrated into his artistic activity. ‘During the 1980's in the Lower East Side art scene fashion, art, performance were closely intertwined, artists, fashion designers and performers frequently worked together. Keith collaborated with Madonna and Grace Jones, creating costumes for their performances. He further collaborated with Vivienne Westwood and Stephan Sprouse as well as Swatch, and went on to create his own selection of clothing for his Pop Shop store which opened in 1986.
The Brooklyn Museum exhibition (running from March 16th to July 8th 2012) includes a large amount of Haring’s works from his early career in New York and his maturity into a public artist. Titled Keith Haring: 1978 – 1982 and curated by Raphaela Platow, the exhibition goes into great detail of these 4 years were essential to Haring’s formation as an artist.
Unfortunately, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988. The following year he set up the Keith Haring Foundation in order to provide assistance to children as well as to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Besides contributing to the education and research on the illness, the foundation ensures that Haring’s art is preserved together with his ideals.
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