Happy Birthday, Keith Haring!

May 4, 2020

During his tragically short but prolific artistic career, Keith Haring left a deep mark on the world of contemporary art, inspiring generations of future artists. He became known for the recognizable style of bold lines and bright colors, as well as the unique energy and optimism of his art.

The artist sadly passed away in 1990 of AIDS-related complications, at the age of 31. His spirit lives on through his artworks, which serve as a lasting reminder of his legacy and political activism. To honor his birthday this May 4, we present you ten of his pieces that you can own right now.

Featured image: Keith Haring - Memorial Tribute Invitation, 1990. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.

Art in Transit, Book Release Announcement, 1985

In 1985, Keith Haring published a book titled Art in Transit: Subway Drawings. The book features a collection of photographs of Haring’s chalk drawings on blank advertising spaces in the New York City subway, accompanied by a text by artist himself. As he explained in the book, although his career aboveground has skyrocketed, the subway still remained his favorite place to draw. This poster was created to announce the book release.

Buy the work here!

Tony Shafrazi 1984 Exhibition Announcement, 1984

This poster, signed by the artist, was created to announce Haring's solo exhibition at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1984. Haring decided to be represented by Shafrazi in the early 1980s, which freed him from the pressures of dealing his own work, but also allowed him to situate his artwork in the midst of large-scale cultural events. His first one-man show at Shafrazi took place in 1982 when the artist transformed part of the gallery's space into a club-like environment.

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1988 Exhibition Catalogue (Martin Lawrence Limited Editions)

This 1988 exhibition catalogue published by Martin Lawrence Limited Editions was hand-signed by the artist on the inside page and dated “K. Haring 88”. It was published on the occasion of his one-man exhibition in Los Angeles, featuring paintings, drawings, and prints.

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The Great Peace March, 1986

Through his art, Haring raised concerns about a range of social issues. His proximity to the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979 had a large impact on him and this fear of nuclear disaster started to appear in his art. The artist designed and illustrated a range of posters for the anti-nuclear demonstrations that were held throughout the U.S. during 1986. This particular one was created for the march which began at Malcolm X / Meridian Hill Park in Washington D.C., passing through Lafayette Park onwards to Lincoln Memorial.

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Schott Motorcycle Jacket Painting, 1989

Throughout his career, Haring did a range of collaborations. In 1989, he painted on a genuine Schott Perfecto Leather Jacket, creating only a handful of these jackets. Marlon Brando, James Dean and Bruce Springsteen are but a few of the major stars that have worn these unique jackets. This jacket is a Men's Size 42.

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New Year's Invitation '88 (Suit), 1988

In 1988, Haring designed an invitation for the New Year's party. This festive poster features a man in the pinstripe suit.

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Memorial Tribute Invitation, 1990

In 1990, Haring passed away from AIDS-related complications. Even before he was diagnosed, Haring was an outspoken supporter of AIDS awareness and vociferous critic of government negligence regarding the epidemic. This poster was designed for the Memorial Tribute Invitation - Honoring Keith Haring that took place at the St. Patrick's Cathedral NYC the year he died.

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Untitled (1988), 1993

This poster was created in 1993, based on the artist's Untitled work from 1988. It features Haring's distinct motifs executed in black and white, reminiscent of his early subway chalk drawings.

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Untitled (from Pop Shop VI), 1989

This colorful screenprint from 1989 features Haring's distinct dancing figures. It is one of the works that was available at his Pop Shop, a shop born from the artist's desire to make his work accessible. "I wanted to continue this same sort of communication as with the subway drawings," he explained. "I wanted to attract the same wide range of people, and I wanted it to be a place where, yes, not only collectors could come, but also kids from the Bronx."

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Lucky Strike, 1987

In 1987, Haring was commissioned by the cigarette company Lucky Strike to design a suite of advertisements for the brand. Haring created nine drawings for Lucky Strike, from which the company selected five to be printed as limited edition silkscreen prints. This is one of the three designs that were also released as posters, featuring the street artist’s signature expressive lines and dancing figures.

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Follow These Artists

Keith Haring

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New York City, United States of America

Lougher Contemporary

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Neuchatel, Switzerland