Keith Haring

image for Keith Haring
Exhibition Label
Born Reading, Pennsylvania
Artist Keith Haring stands before Unfinished Painting (1989), one of the last works he completed before his death from the AIDS virus. The painting serves as a poignant statement about a life cut short at the age of thirty-one. In this and other works during a meteoric career that lasted just over a decade, Haring demonstrated a commitment to various political and social causes, including apartheid, nuclear disarmament, and especially the AIDS crisis. He vaulted to public prominence initially as a graffiti artist whose comical and enigmatic cartoons started appearing in New York City’s subway system. This success led him to mainstream fame in the art world. Although some critics expressed concern about his efforts to market his work to a mass audience, Haring believed that art should be as accessible as possible: "You can’t just stay in your studio and paint; that’s not the most effective way to communicate."
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the artist in memory of Monique Perlstein
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
1989 (printed 1999)
Object number
Wouter Deruytter, born 1967
Keith Haring, 4 May 1958 - 16 Feb 1990
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses
Keith Haring: Male
Keith Haring: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter
Keith Haring: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist
Keith Haring: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter\Muralist
Toned gelatin silver print
Image: 37.1 x 37.1 cm (14 5/8 x 14 5/8")
Sheet: 50.5 x 40.5 cm (19 7/8 x 15 15/16")
National Portrait Gallery