Keith Haring: Back in the Spotlight
When I first moved to New York City in 1990, Keith Haring had just died of AIDS related complications. All through the 80s, his art was as much a part of the city landscape as yellow taxicabs and neon signs. The city was rougher around the edges and graffiti of all kinds covered buildings and subway cars, from scribbled words and messages, to complete colorful works of art. Keith Haring was the most prolific and well-known graffiti style artist of that time—you couldn’t ride the subway or walk the streets without seeing his work. He produced hundreds of bright, eye-catching pieces of public art, sometimes as many as 40 subway drawings a day! But his art was more than graffiti. His medium was the public space, reaching the masses with bold, colorful, energetic imagery. Most importantly, his work made us think. Much of his art had strong social messages and he used his platform as an artist to create awareness around literacy programs for underprivileged children, the war on drug abuse, and most notably the fight against AIDS.
As Haring became more popular, he opened the Pop Shop in SoHo, a space with floor-to-ceiling murals and a carefully curated selection of merchandise featuring Haring’s art at an affordable price. He created Pop Shop because he wanted to make his art accessible to the public, in the same way his subway works were seen by all New Yorkers. Pop Shop was everyone, for the art collector to kids from the Bronx.
Today, Haring’s work is more popular than ever and universally regarded in the art world as the visual language of the 20th century. In November, the de Young Museum in San Francisco opened Keith Haring: The Political Line, the first major Haring exhibition on the west coast in nearly two decades. Many of the works are on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation, New York, with supplemental loans from public and private collections. Several pieces have not been published or on public view since Haring’s death. The exhibition explores Haring’s response to social issues of race, capitalism, nuclear disarmament, the environment, and more.
Galison/Mudpuppy has partnered with the Keith Haring Foundation to create this very special stationery and gift collection. The first installment of the line includes some of Haring’s most iconic artwork, with items to inspire new generations, as well as those of us who remember these images as active expression of ideas, concerns, beauty and love. We hope to uphold the same mission as the Pop Shop—to continue Haring’s artistic communication with the masses—here, in the form of items we use every day.
Galison/Mudpuppy Marketing Director
Meet Our 2019-2020 Design FellowsAugust 6th, 2019
Adiós, Design Fellows!June 27th, 2019
8 Conferences that Target Diversity in PublishingSeptember 26th, 2018