Haring was a force in the downtown New York art scene, creating some of the most iconic imagery of the 20th century. Beginning with spontaneous drawings in New York City’s subways, he launched a brief but intense career that spanned the 1980s—his work was featured in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions, and soon exploded into the American popular consciousness.
Haring collaborated with artists and performers as diverse as Madonna, Grace Jones, Bill T. Jones, William S. Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, and Andy Warhol, making him one of the most recognized artists of his generation. Through universal concepts like birth, death, love, sex, and war—illustrated in his uniquely simple yet iconic manner—Haring captured the attention of an extremely wide audience and assured the staying power of his art after his untimely death.
His work can be seen everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Centre Pompidou in Paris to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. (We don’t know of any of his work still appearing on the NYC subway platforms, but a handball court he painted in Harlem still stands.) Before his death, Haring established The Keith Haring Foundation, which is committed to expanding awareness of his art and his contributions to children’s and AIDS organizations.