The American artist Keith Haring in 1990 at the age of 31, is being celebrated in a Google Doodle.
Haring would have been 54 on Friday and no doubt would have approved of the tribute to his brand of pop art, which drew on the New York street styles and dance music scene of the 1980s. An unabashed populist, he delighted in the idea that his work should be available to everybody – not just a clique of gallerists and rich collectors.
He first came to public attention with his chalk drawings on the New York subway in the late 1970s. This cartoonish quality continued in his later work, characterised by vivid colours and bold lines, which influenced the club scene and advertising.
Mentored by Andy Warhol, Haring opened a small shop in SoHo in 1986 called Pop Shop, selling merchandise bearing his iconic images including T-shirts, toys, posters, badges and key rings as well as reproductions of his art. He said the idea behind the venture, reconstructed in a Tate Modern exhibition in 2009, was “to continue this same sort of communication as with the subway drawings. I wanted to attract the same wide range of people, and I wanted it to be a place where, yes, not only collectors could come but also kids from the Bronx.”
His friendship with Warhol connected Haring to rising celebrities such as Madonna, who was a regular
customer at Pop Shop in the 80s. The singer regarded Haring’s mixing of art, street and consumer culture as a major influence on her success. She has said: “Keith … managed to take something from what I call street art, which was an underground counterculture, and raise it to a pop culture for mass consumption. And I did that too.”
His last works included a painting on the rear wall of an Italian church and six animations for Sesame Street, reflecting both his versatility and the wide audience for his art.
- Something Cool We Saw Online: Keith Haring and Cool (esquire.com)
- SENSEO Coffee Machines – Keith Haring Editions (slamxhype.com)
- Keith Haring: 1978-1982 At The Brooklyn Museum (bxcheapskate.com)
- Don’t Do It For Anyone Else (waldina.com)
- What Happened To The Keith Haring Sculpture At Howard & Third? (sfist.com)
- Keith Haring: Radiant in Brooklyn (phineasazcuy.wordpress.com)
- Scans of Keith Haring’s Journals (1978-1982) (laughingsquid.com)
- Keith Haring’s Journals on Tumblr (apartmenttherapy.com)
- Keith Haring – at the Brooklyn Museum (timgarrattnottingham.co.uk)