Keith HaringArtist Factory
was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1958 and died in New York in 1990.
Keith Haring used his art to draw attention to grievances such as war and violence, or to the suffering caused by AIDS. There is almost always an activist message in his works.
What is the potential of making art accessible to the public, of showing it outside of museums and galleries?
In New York’s subway shafts in the 1980s, there were many unused billboards covered with black paper. They probably appealed to Keith Haring, as thousands of people passed by them every day. He was also intrigued by the proximity to and contrast with the advertising messages, as well as by the quality of these specific places. He began to draw on these blank paper panels with white chalk.
Quite crazy things can happen in Keith Haring’s pictures: for example, they can contain dolphins, crawling babies, televisions, barking dogs, snakes and ticking clocks. The figures reappear so frequently in his works that they almost represent something like an alphabet of their own: Keith’s very own script with images.
Talk about it
What do you think? Why was it so important to Keith Haring to bring children and young people into contact with his art?
Keith Haring practiced constantly, which is why his paintings are so good. He sometimes made up to 40 “subway drawings” in a single day. Keith did not sign any of his works in the subway stations, believing that the drawings themselves were already a signature.
Why do artists actually put their signatures under a work? Why would you sign something?