Keith Haring was an American social activist and artist residing in New York whose work responded to the 1980’s street culture, gaining friends like Jean-Michel Basquait (Dustheads) and Madonna.
He expressed his ideas of sexuality, birth, death, and war by initially displaying his art publicly in subways. He tagged his pieces with an image called “The Radiant Baby,” which quickly became his symbol.
Haring’s most notable work was inspired by an epidemic of crack cocaine use in major cities across the US, specifically New York. He created a mural stating “Crack is Wack” on handball court in 1986, the work now a landmark along New York’s FDR Drive.
In 1985, Haring designed a Free South Africa poster that shows a colored in figure to represent the people of South Africa with a leash held by a smaller, white figure with a red “X,” and the darkened figure stomping on it. He also painted horizontal figures holding onto each other on a section of the Berlin Wall to signify the injustice of separating Berlin.
During his career, Haring’s work was featured in over 100 solo and group exhibitions. His last work was painted in Pisa, Italy titled “Tuttomondo,” meaning, “All World.”