Keith Haring

Keith Haring

Keith Haring was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. His father was an engineer who loved to dedicate himself to creating comics together with his son in his free time. In this way, the young Keith approached drawing for the first time by creating depictions of animated characters. In 1976 Keith Haring enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he studied commercial art; However, the young man lost interest in the subject after a short time and found a job at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. In these years Haring became acquainted with the masterpieces of numerous contemporary artists who would have had great relevance for the development of his style: among the most important were Jean Dubuffet, one of the exponents of the Art Brut artistic movement, and Jackson Pollock. In 1978 Keith Haring moved to New York, where he began studies at the School of Visual Arts. In the metropolis the young artist came into contact with an artistic community that was also active outside the galleries and museums. What fascinated the young Haring most were the nightlife of the clubs and the numerous street artists present in the city. Keith Haring managed to make a name for himself in New York thanks to the creation of numerous chalk graffiti on unused subway advertising panels. The aspiring writer considered these black tables his own notebooks, in which he could experiment with his own ideas. Furthermore, he saw in it a perfect medium between artist and spectator, since these works were seen daily by the many people who took the subway. The most famous figures of Keith Haring's artistic imagination were born on these panels, such as the radiant child. This figure consisted of the image of a child on all fours, surrounded by dashes symbolizing vital energy.
The Eighties were the turning point in the career of Keith Haring, who was recognized as one of the most important artists on the American scene and beyond. In 1981 his first solo exhibition was held in New York, at the Westbeth Paintes Space. Only a year later the painter held a solo exhibition in Tony Shafrazi's gallery in the famous Soho district. In this period Soho had become one of the driving centers of contemporary art and the possibility of exhibiting one's works in a gallery in this neighborhood guaranteed great visibility.