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Keith Haring

American, b. 1958

Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist known for his distinct pop-graffiti aesthetic centered on fluid, bold outlines against a dense, rhythmic overspread of symbolic imagery. Bridging the gap between the art world and the street, Haring rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his graffiti drawings made in the subways and on the sidewalks of New York City. Combining the popular appeal of cartoons with the energy of Art Brut, Haring’s practice explored themes of exploitation, subjugation, drug abuse, and rising fears of nuclear holocaust, which became increasingly apocalyptic after his AIDS diagnosis. Although the artist’s career was tragically cut short with his untimely death at the age of 31, Haring is regarded as one of the most influential street artists of his generation. His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C among other prominent institutions.