Archives, The Artist Birthday Series

Keith Haring

In April of 1986, Haring opened a retail store in Soho, called the Pop Shop. There he sold T-shirts, toys, buttons, posters, magnets and other items which bore his designs. Though there were those in the “art world” that belittled this endeavor, it was Haring’s mission to stay true to his public art mission, and through this shop was able to allow people a greater access to his work, and allowing for a much larger audience than would have been available through the traditional gallery system. The pushback from the academic side of art was far outweighed however by his friends, fans, and art world luminaries of the time, including Andy Warhol who was a great supporter of Haring’s work.

Warhol and Haring (1986, photo by Ron Galella)
Warhol and Haring (1986, photo by Ron Galella)

Using his artistic public forum, Haring created work of social and political commentary, such as his more than 50 murals constructed between 1982 and 1989, which were created for charities, hospitals, children’s day care centers and orphanages. In 1986 he created one of his most famous murals, “Crack Is Wack,” now a landmark on the FDR Drive in New York. Also in 1986, he created a mural marking the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, a delightful project in which approximately 900 children also participated. He held several drawing workshops for children in New York, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo and Bordeaux, and produced the images for public service campaigns for literacy programs and other worthwhile programs.

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