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Hype Museum?

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Keith Haring, a beloved New York activist and artist who is renowned for his vivid, pop-graffiti style, is one of the most significant figures in contemporary art. He was well-known for his vibrant, humorous, and brash pop-graffiti style and held the view that "art is life, and life is art."

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Keith Haring, a 1958 Pennsylvania native, had a love for drawing early on thanks to his father and well-known animated series like Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss. He studied at the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh after graduating from high school but soon realized he was not interested in studying to be a commercial graphic artist and left. In 1978, Haring relocated to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts.

Haring referred to the streets and subways of New York as his "laboratory" since he started producing hundreds of paintings there starting in 1980. While occasionally this resulted in his imprisonment, it frequently went in the artist's favor. "I've been escorted to a station more than once handcuffed by a cop who realized, much to his dismay, that the other cops in the precinct are my fans and were eager to see me and shake my hand," Haring remembered.

In his subsequent work, Haring would use many of the elements from these early murals, tags, and paintings. The Radiant Baby emblem, which Haring has utilized ever since his graffiti days, is one of them. He described the infant's light-emitting crawl as "the purest and most uplifting experience of human existence."

Throughout Haring's career, the two figures beneath a heart motif has appeared in numerous variations. He continued to use dancing figures and heart symbols into his later works because he saw them as a universal metaphor for love.

One of Keith Haring's most well-known pieces of HIV/AIDS-related art is Ignorance = Fear, which he finished in 1989. After being diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and witnessing the devastation the pandemic had caused in the LGBTQ+ community, Haring used his work to spread awareness of the issue. His creations frequently incorporated the pink triangle motif, which the LGBTQ+ rights movement has reclaimed after it was first utilized during the Holocaust to identify homosexual targets.

Haring's Pop Shop prints are among his other well-known creations. The artist's dedication to making art accessible to all audiences served as the inspiration for these lighthearted, whimsical paintings. He established Pop Shops in New York and Japan, which featured murals by Keith Haring on its walls and sold a variety of t-shirts, badges, magnets, and prints for as little as 50 cents. While the project was praised by friends like Andy Warhol, who was intrigued by the potential of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, many influential players in the art world who valued unique works of art passed over Pop Shop.

Haring said, "I could earn more money if I just painted a few items and hiked up the price," when discussing the significance of launching the Pop shop as opposed to creating enormous canvases to suit collectors. Breaking down the barriers between high and low art is what I was doing in the subway stations, and it continues in my business.

In addition to painting, Haring experimented with printing methods like lithography in the late '70s and '80s in an effort to make his work more approachable. He started making screen prints in 1983 and soon he was creating bolder and more creative works. Just before he passed away, Haring experimented with embossing and produced the classy White Icons series, which featured his recognizable designs but lacked his recognizable bright colors.

In order to leave his day work as a cook and deliveryman and focus only on his art, Haring joined the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1982. He received numerous invitations to participate in solo and group exhibits and quickly gained notoriety for his use of street art. By the middle of the 1980s, Haring was participating in international biennials and had even created a Times Square billboard, an Absolut Vodka ad campaign, a Swatch watch, and murals all over the globe.

According to a quote by Haring, "Art is life, and life is art." His success was a result of both his prodigious output and this all-encompassing view of art.

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