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Collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Keith Allen Haring

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Keith Haring was born in Reading, PA, 4 May 1958 and raised in the nearby town of Kutztown. Prior to moving to New York City in 1978, Haring studied art at the Ivy School and The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. From 1978 to 1980 Haring attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. Inspired by the graphic strength of graffiti, Haring's "comic book" style of drawing developed early in the 1980s when he created iconographic characters which he drew on the subway walls. Concerned with topics as diverse as AIDS, nuclear holocaust and ecology, Haring employed images of crawling babies, rainbows and barking dogs that serve as emblems of the human condition. A performance artist, poet and videoartist, Haring made a considerable impact on the East Village art scene in the early 1980s. He exhibited drawings and paintings in the United States and Europe throughout the 1980s and accepted mural commissions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; and New York. He died of AIDS 16 February 1990.