109 Facts About Keith Haring


Keith Allen Haring was an American artist whose pop art emerged from the New York City graffiti subculture of the 1980s.


Keith Haring produced more than 50 public artworks between 1982 and 1989, many of them created voluntarily for hospitals, day care centers and schools.


Keith Haring was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on May 4,1958.


Keith Haring was raised in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, by his mother, Joan Haring, and father, Allen Haring, an engineer and amateur cartoonist.


Keith Haring had three younger sisters, Kay, Karen and Kristen.


Keith Haring became interested in art at a very young age, spending time with his father producing creative drawings.


Keith Haring later hitchhiked across the country, selling T-shirts he made featuring the Grateful Dead and anti-Nixon designs.


Keith Haring graduated from Kutztown Area High School in 1976.


Keith Haring studied commercial art from 1976 to 1978 at Pittsburgh's Ivy School of Professional Art, but eventually lost interest, inspired to focus on his own art after reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri.


Keith Haring had a maintenance job at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and was able to explore the art of Jean Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Tobey.


Keith Haring was highly influenced around this time by a 1977 retrospective of Pierre Alechinsky's work and by a lecture that the sculptor Christo gave in 1978.


From Christo, Keith Haring was introduced to ways of incorporating the public into his art.


Keith Haring moved to the Lower East Side of New York in 1978 to study painting at the School of Visual Arts.


Keith Haring worked as a busboy during this time at the nightclub Danceteria.


Keith Haring was highly influenced in his art by author William Burroughs.


In December 2007, an area of the American Textile Building in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City was discovered to have a Keith Haring painting from 1979.


Keith Haring first received public attention with his graffiti art in subways, where he created white chalk drawings on black, unused advertisement backboards in the stations.


Keith Haring considered the subways to be his "laboratory," a place where he could experiment and create his artwork and saw the black advertisement paper as a free space and "the perfect place to draw".


Keith Haring used it as his tag to sign his work while a subway artist.


That same year, as part of his participating in The Times Square Show with one of his earliest public projects, Keith Haring altered a banner advertisement above a subway entrance in Times Square that showed a female embracing a male's legs, blacking-out the first letter so that it essentially read "hardon" instead of "Chardon," a French clothing brand.


In 1980, Keith Haring began organizing exhibitions at Club 57, which were filmed by his close friend and photographer Tseng Kwong Chi.


In February 1981, Keith Haring had his first solo exhibition at Westbeth Painters Space in the West Village.


In January 1982, Keith Haring was the first of twelve artists organized by Public Art Fund to display work on the computer-animated Spectacolor billboard in Times Square.


That summer, Keith Haring created his first major outdoor mural on the Houston Bowery Wall on the Lower East Side.


In 1982, Keith Haring participated in documenta 7 in Kassel, where his work were exhibited alongside Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.


In February 1983, Keith Haring had a solo exhibition at the Fun Gallery in the East Village, Manhattan.


That year, Keith Haring participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil and the Whitney Biennial in New York.


Later that year, Keith Haring took part in the exhibition Urban Pulses: the Artist and the City in Pittsburgh by spray painting a room at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and creating an outdoor mural at PPG Place.


Keith Haring used Jones' body as the canvas to paint from head to toe.


Keith Haring enjoyed giving his work away for free, often handing out free buttons and posters of his work.


Keith Haring's swift rise to international celebrity status was covered by the media.


Keith Haring's art covered the February 1984 issue of Vanity Fair, and he was featured in the October 1984 issue of Newsweek.


Keith Haring was invited to create temporary murals at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


That year, Keith Haring painted murals at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and in Rio de Janeiro.


Keith Haring was commissioned by the United Nations to create a first day cover of the United Nations stamp and an accompanying limited edition lithograph to commemorate 1985 as International Youth Year.


Keith Haring designed MTV set decorations and painted murals for various art institutions and nightclubs, such as the Palladium in Manhattan.


In March 1985, Keith Haring painted the walls of the Grande Halle de la Villette for the Biennale de Paris.


Keith Haring continued to be politically active as well by designing Free South Africa posters in 1985, and creating a poster for the 1986 Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament.


In 1986, Keith Haring created public murals in the lobby and ambulatory care department of Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center on Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn.


In June 1986, Keith Haring created a 90-foot banner, CityKids Speak on Liberty, in conjunction with The CityKids Foundation to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Statue of Liberty's arrival in the United States.


On October 23,1986, Keith Haring created a mural on the Berlin Wall for the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.


Keith Haring began collaborating with Grace Jones, whom he had met through Andy Warhol, for an interview magazine shoot in 1984.


Keith Haring painted Jones' body for her music video "I'm Not Perfect" and live performances at the Paradise Garage.


Keith Haring painted Jones' for her role of Katrina the Queen of The Vampires in the 1986 film Vamp.


Keith Haring collaborated with David Spada, a jewelry designer, to design the sculptural adornments for Jones.


Keith Haring stopped because people were taking the subway drawings and selling them.


From 1982 to 1989, Keith Haring was featured in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions and produced more than 50 public artworks in dozens of charities, hospitals, day care centers, and orphanages.


Keith Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in the autumn of 1988.


Keith Haring used his imagery during the last years of his life to speak about his illness and to generate activism and awareness about AIDS.


In 1987, Keith Haring had exhibitions in Helsinki, Paris, and elsewhere.


That same year, Keith Haring was invited by artist Roger Nellens to paint a mural at his Casino Knokke.


Keith Haring designed a carousel for Andre Heller's Luna Luna, an ephemeral amusement park in Hamburg from June to August 1987 with rides designed by renowned contemporary artists.


Keith Haring designed the cover for the 1987 benefit album A Very Special Christmas and the Run-DMC single "Christmas In Hollis"; proceeds went to the Special Olympics.


The image for the A Very Special Christmas compilation album consists of a typical Keith Haring figure holding a baby.


Also in 1987, Keith Haring painted a mural in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze titled 'We the Youth' to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States Constitution.


The mural underwent a major restoration in 2013 and is Keith Haring's longest standing public mural at its original location.


In 1988, Keith Haring joined a select group of artists whose work has appeared on the label of Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine.


In December 1988, Keith Haring's exhibition opened at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, which he stated was his most important show to date.


Keith Haring felt he had something to prove because of his health condition and the deaths of his friends Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


In February 1989, Keith Haring painted the Todos Juntos Podemos Parar el SIDA mural in the drug-infested Barrio Chino neighborhood of Barcelona to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic.


In May 1989, at the invitation of a teacher named Irving Zucker, Keith Haring visited Chicago to paint a 480-foot mural in Grant Park along with nearly 500 students.


Three other Keith Haring murals materialized in Chicago around the same time: two at Rush University Medical Center, the other at Wells Community Academy High School.


Keith Haring chose the second-floor men's bathroom to paint his Once Upon a Time.


In June 1989, Keith Haring painted his Tuttomondo mural on the rear wall of the convent of the Sant'Antonio Abate church in Pisa.


Keith Haring criticized the avoidance of social issues such as AIDS through a piece called Rebel with Many Causes that revolves around a theme of "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil".


In 1990, Keith Haring painted a BMW Z1 at the Hans Mayer Gallery in Dusseldorf.


On February 16,1990, Keith Haring died of AIDS-related complications at his LaGuardia Place apartment in Greenwich Village.


Keith Haring was cremated and his ashes were scattered in a field near Bowers, Pennsylvania, just south of his hometown of Kutztown.


Three months after his death, Keith Haring posthumously appeared in Rosa von Praunheim's documentary film Silence = Death about gay artists in New York City fighting for the rights of people with AIDS.


When Basquiat died in 1988, Keith Haring wrote his obituary for Vogue magazine, and he paid homage to him with the painting A Pile of Crowns for Jean-Michel Basquiat.


In 1979, Keith Haring met photographer Tseng Kwong Chi in the East Village.


In 1980, Keith Haring met and began collaborating with graffiti artist Angel "LA II" Ortiz.


Keith Haring formed friendships with George Condo, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, and Claude Picasso.


Keith Haring appointed his assistant and studio manager Julia Gruen to be the executive director; she began working for him in 1984.


Keith Haring's work was featured in several of Red Hot Organization's efforts to raise money for AIDS and AIDS awareness, specifically its first two albums, Red Hot + Blue and Red Hot + Dance, the latter of which used Keith Haring's work on its cover.


In 1991, Keith Haring was commemorated on the AIDS Memorial Quilt with his famous baby icon on a fabric panel.


In 2006, Keith Haring was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of LGBT History Month.


In 2008, Keith Haring had a balloon in tribute to him at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


In 2014, Keith Haring was one of the inaugural honorees in the Rainbow Honor Walk.


In June 2019, Keith Haring was one of the inaugural fifty American "pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes" inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument in New York City's Stonewall Inn.


Keith Haring's estate has collaborated with brands such as Adidas, Lacoste, UNIQLO, Supreme, Reebok, and Coach.


Keith Haring is the subject of a composition, Keith Haring at the Exhibition, written and performed by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero in collaboration with DJ Nicola Guiducci.


Keith Haring: Double Retrospect is a monster sized jigsaw puzzle by Ravensburger measuring in at 17 by 6 feet with 32,256 pieces, breaking Guinness Book of World Records for the largest puzzle ever made in 2011.


Keith Haring was influenced by William Burroughs' work with Brion Gysin and their book The Third Mind.


Keith Haring was influenced by fellow artists, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, George Condo, and Angel "LA II" Ortiz.


Keith Haring was deeply influenced by the Jesus Movement as a youth, and it continued to play a role in his art for his entire career.


When Keith Haring was drawing graffiti in the subway, he used a tag to sign his work.


Keith Haring continued to make images depicting the Christ Child, including Nativity scenes in his characteristic style during his time as a subway artist.


Keith Haring has been the subject of several international retrospectives.


Keith Haring had his first solo exhibition at Westbeth Painters Space in February 1981.


In 1983, Keith Haring contributed work to the Whitney Biennial and the Sao Paulo Biennial.


Keith Haring had solo exhibitions at the Fun Gallery, Galerie Watari in Tokyo, and his second show the Tony Shafarzi Gallery.


In 1984, Keith Haring participated in the group show Arte di Frontiera: New York Graffiti in Italy.


Keith Haring participated in the Venice Biennale in 1984 and 1986.


In 1985, Keith Haring took part in the Paris Biennial and he had his first solo museum exhibition at the CAPC in Bordeaux.


In 1986, three of Keith Haring's sculptures were placed at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza outside the United Nations headquarters.


Keith Haring's art was the subject of a 1997 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, curated by Elisabeth Sussman.


The Public Art Fund, in collaboration with the Estate of Keith Haring, organized a multi-site installation of his outdoor sculptures at Central Park's Doris C Freedman Plaza and along the Park Avenue Malls.


In 2007, Keith Haring's painted aluminum sculpture Self-Portrait was displayed in the lobby of the Arsenal in Central Park, as part of the retrospective exhibition The Outdoor Gallery: 40 Years of Public Art in New York City Parks.


From December 2016 to June 2017, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles exhibited The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring, which featured five vehicles that Haring painted.


In 2019, Keith Haring's work was exhibited at Gladstone Gallery in Belgium.


The first major UK exhibition of Keith Haring's work, featuring more than 85 artworks, was at Tate Liverpool from June to November 2019.


In 2023, the The Broad will present Haring's first museum exhibition in Los Angeles, Keith Haring: Art is for Everyone.


Keith Haring's prices ranged from $3,000 for a drawing to $15,000 for a large painting.


Keith Haring was represented until his death by art dealer Tony Shafrazi.


In October 2020, the Keith Haring Foundation hired Sotheby's to hold an online auction of more than 140 works from Haring's collection.


Dear Keith Haring surpassed its estimate of $1.4 million to achieve $4.6 million with a 100 percent sell-through rate by lot.


The Nakamura Keith Haring Collection, established in 2007 in Hokuto, Yamanashi, Japan, is an art museum exhibiting exclusively the artworks of Haring.


In 2012, the Keith Haring Foundation disbanded its authentication board to focus on its charitable activities.