Keith Haring

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Artist and Activist

Keith Haring artists

Social commentary and revolutionary attitudes

Art is for the people

Keith Haring, Growing 3, 1988 For Sale | Lougher Contemporary

b. 1958

Keith Haring

Keith Haring rose to prominence in 1980s New York within the East Village art scene alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and Jenny Holzer. He bridged the gap between the art world and the street, graffiting city subways and sidewalks before committing to a studio practice. Haring united the appeal of cartoons with the raw energy of Art Brut artists such as Jean DuBuffet as he developed a distinct pop-graffiti aesthetic that comprised energetic, boldly outlined figures against solid or patterned backdrops. His major themes included exploitation, subjugation, drug abuse, and the threat of nuclear holocaust; Haring boldly engaged with social issues, especially after receiving an AIDS diagnosis in 1987. Today, his work sells for seven figures at auction and has been the subject of solo shows at the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Albertina Museum in Vienna, among other institutions.


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Keith Haring, Growing 3, 1988 For Sale | Lougher Contemporary
Keith Haring, USA, 1982 For Sale | Lougher Contemporary

Who is Keith Haring?

Adored New York activist and artist, Keith Haring is one of the most influential names in Contemporary Art. Famed for his colourful and playful pop-graffiti, and for his socially engaged art – particularly in the context of AIDS activism – Haring believed that 'art is life, and life is art'.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1958, Keith Haring found his love of drawing at a young age through popular cartoons like Walt Disney and Dr Seuss, and moved to New York City in 1978 to study at the School of Visual Arts. From 1980, Haring began to create hundreds of drawings in New York’s streets and subways, calling these spaces his 'laboratory'. It was here that he developed some of the key motifs that defined his art, like his Radiant Baby, which he considered as an image of 'the purest and most positive experience of human existence', and his heart icons and dancing figures, which he used throughout his later works.

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