Keith Haring is a figure that hardly needs an introduction. Eye-catching recognisable style, murals, sculptures, drawings in public spaces - all this intense artistic presence settled firmly into the public consciousness in the early and mid 80s, turning Haring into one of the most celebrated and popularised artists we know.
Untitled (Self-Portrait), February 2, 1985 Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm)
Private collection © 2014, Keith Haring Foundation.
Keith Haring (1958-1990) Andy Mouse, 1985 Acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 x 60 in. (152.4 x 152.4 cm) Private collection © 2014, Keith Haring Foundation
Keith Haring (1958 -1900) 'Crack is Wack' Mural, 120th St. and FDR Drive, New York, October 6, 1986. Polaroid. Collection of the Keith Haring Foundation. © Keith Haring Foundation.
What goes beyond his skyrocketing fame and glorified celebrity status, however, is his vision for bringing people together through art.
Mural Commission, St. Patrick's Daycare Center, San Francisco, December 1985. Polaroid. Collection of the Keith Haring Foundation. © Keith Haring Foundation.
Not only Haring understood that art was for everybody but he also fought for the individual and against dictatorship, racism and capitalism , points out Dieter Buchhart - guest curator of 'Keith Haring : The Political Line' show at the de Young Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco. Opening this Saturday, the exhibit sets the bar high, aiming to be the 'first American exhibition to assess the political dimension and scope of Keith Haring's artistic concerns' as stated in the press release.
More than 130 works - sculptures, large-scale paintings, examples of the artist's subway drawings will unravel Haring's devotion and personal creative responses to causes, he felt deeply for - racial inequality, AIDS, excesses of capitalism.
Untitled, 1982 Vinyl paint on vinyl tarpaulin, 72 x 72 in. (182.9 x 182.9 cm). Collection of Sloan and Roger Barnett © 2014, Keith Haring Foundation.
Untitled, 1981 Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50 in. (127 x 127 cm). Private collection © 2014, Keith Haring Foundation.
San Francisco's current visual identity owns a lot to Haring's active political stance and enduring vision. So it is only fair that the city is now honouring the artist 's life mission to raise awareness and fight social injustice.
Keith Haring : The Political Line, Nov. 8-Feb. 16, 2015. San Francisco's de Young Museum of Fine Arts. All images are courtesy of Keith Haring Foundation.