Keith Haring was a politically and socially engaged artist whose works reflected the major concerns of the time and place he was working. His star burned briefly and brightly in the 1980s before his untimely death at the age of 31 in 1990, from an AIDS-related illness. American-born Haring was heavily influenced by New York street art, and he rose to prominence with his graffiti on the New York subway. He also created collages out of New York Post headlines and used paper, metal and plastic to express his vision.
Keith Haring worked extensively in the public sphere, being part of a collective that developed more than 50 public art works during the 1980s, including his ‘Crack is Wack’ mural in New York City. His subjects included the AIDS epidemic, South African apartheid and the proliferation of crack cocaine on the streets. His vision is seen as one that attempted to encompass the human experience as he saw it: birth, sexuality, war and death. His love of popular culture extended into working with Madonna, designing the jacket she wore for the ‘Like a Virgin’ video, and he also began a vein of work inspired by big name brands such as Coco-Cola, Lucky Strike and Absolut Vodka.