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Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s.
Haring's work grew to iconic popularity from his exuberant spontaneous drawings in New York City subways – chalk outlines on blank black advertising-space backgrounds – depicting radiant babies, flying saucers, and deified dogs. After public recognition he created larger scale works such as colorful murals, many of them commissioned. His imagery has become a widely recognized visual language. His later work often addressed political and societal themes – especially homosexuality and AIDS – through his own unique iconography.
When his friend Jean-Michel Basquiat died of an overdose in New York in 1988, he paid homage to him with his work ''A Pile of Crowns, for Jean-Michel Basquiat''.
Haring was openly gay and was a strong advocate of safe sex; however, in 1988, he was diagnosed with AIDS. From 1982 to 1989, he was featured in more than a 100 solo and group exhibitions as well as produced more than 50 public artworks in dozens of charities, hospitals, day care centers, and orphanages. He used his imagery during the last years of his life to speak about his illness and to generate activism and awareness about AIDS. In 1989, he was invited by the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center to join a show of site-specific artwork for the building at 208 West 13th Street. He chose the second-floor men's room for his mural ''Once Upon a Time''. In June, on the rear wall of the convent of the Church of Sant'Antonio (in Italian: ''Chiesa di Sant'Antonio abate'') in Pisa (Italy), he painted the last public work of his life, the mural "Tuttomondo" (translation: "All world").
Haring died on February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications.
He (among others) is commemorated in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
As a celebration of his life, Madonna declared the first New York date of her Blond Ambition World Tour a benefit concert for Haring's memory and donated all proceeds from her ticket sales to AIDS charities including AIDS Project Los Angeles and amfAR; the act was documented in her film ''Truth or Dare.'' Additionally, his work was featured in several of Red Hot Organization's efforts to raise money for AIDS and AIDS awareness, specifically its first two albums, ''[[Red Hot + Blue]]'' and ''[[Red Hot + Dance]]'', the latter of which used Haring's work on its cover.
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