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Friday, May 4, 2012

The New York City street culture of the 1980s: Keith Haring (pop art, graffiti art)

Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s.

Haring achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways of New York (see public art). These were his first recognized pieces of pop art. The exhibitions were filmed by the photographer Tseng Kwong Chi. Around this time, "The Radiant Baby" became his symbol. His bold lines, vivid colors, and active figures carry strong messages of life and unity. Starting in 1980, he organized exhibitions in Club 57. He participated in the Times Square Exhibition and drew, for the first time, animals and human faces. In 1981 he sketched his first chalk drawings on black paper and painted plastic, metal and found objects.

In 1984, Haring visited Australia and painted wall murals in Melbourne (such as the 1984 'Detail-Mural at Collingwood College, Victoria') and Sydney and received a AU$1000 commission from the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art to create a mural, based on his graffiti designs, which temporarily replaced the water curtain at the National Gallery. He also visited and painted in Rio de Janeiro, the Paris Museum of Modern Art, Minneapolis and Manhattan. He even designed a jacket worn by a pink-wigged Madonna for a performance of her song "Like a Virgin" for the TV dance program Solid Gold.

As a celebration of his life, Madonna declared the first New York date of her Blond Ambition World Tour a benefit concert for Haring's memory, and donated all proceeds from her ticket sales to AIDS charities including AIDS Project Los Angeles and amfAR; the act was documented in her film Truth or Dare. Additionally, 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 Haring's work on its cover.

By expressing concepts of birth, death, sex and war, Haring's imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century.
READ MORE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Haring

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