Keith Haring – (May 4, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania) He developed a love for drawing at a very early age, learning basic cartooning skills from his father and from the popular culture around him, such as Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. Organizing exhibitions at Club 57 & other venues. Great influences include his contemporaries; Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Alechinsky, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin & Robert Henri’s. Giving him push for his own youthful impulses toward a singular kind of graphic expression based on the primacy of the line. Also drawn to the public & participatory nature of Christo’s work, in particular Running Fence, & by Andy Warhol’s unique fusion of art and life, Haring was determined to devote his career to creating a truly public art.
- 1980- 1985 Haring noticed the unused advertising panels covered with matte black paper in a subway station & began creating white chalk drawings on blank paper panels throughout the subway system. He produced hundreds of these public drawings in rapid rhythmic lines, sometimes creating as many as forty “subway drawings” in one day. The subway became, as Haring said, a “laboratory” for working out his ideas and experimenting with his simple lines.
- Between 1980 & 1986, Haring achieved international recognition & participated in numerous group & solo exhibitions. His first solo exhibition in New York, held at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1982.
- In April 1986, Haring opened the Pop Shop, a retail store in Soho selling T-shirts, toys, posters, buttons and magnets bearing his images. Haring considered the shop to be an extension of his work & painted the entire interior of the store in an abstract black on white mural, creating a striking & unique retail environment. The shop was intended to allow people greater access to his work, which was now readily available on products at a low cost. The shop received criticism from many in the art world, however Haring remained committed to his desire to make his artwork available to as wide an audience as possible, & received strong support for his project from friends, fans & mentors including Andy Warhol.
- 1982- 1989, Haring devoted much of his time to public works, often carried social messages, produced more than 50 public artworks globally, many created for charities, hospitals, children’s day care centres & orphanages. The now famous Crack is Wack mural of 1986 has become a landmark along New York’s FDR Drive.
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