Keith Haring: The Political Line
Edited by Dieter Buchhart
Published by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
10.3 x 1.2 x 12.4 inches
Exuberant, profane, witty, and provocative, the images in this book reveal the political dimension of Keith Haring's artistic concerns. Through his graffiti-inspired drawings, paintings, sculptures, murals, and other works, Keith Haring created an immediately recognizable visual iconography that spoke to an enormous population--gay and straight, young and old, male and female. His importance in the annals of popular culture is indisputable, but little attention has been paid to his advocacy for social justice. Haring's political perspective is the focus of this visually arresting selection of works that traces the artist's development and historical significance and gives new gravitas to his career. Accompanying a major exhibition at the de Young museum in San Francisco, this book features more than 130 works of art, including large-scale paintings on tarpaulin and canvas, sculptures, and subway drawings. Together they create a narrative that explores Haring's responses to nuclear disarmament, racial inequality, capitalist excess, environmental degradation, and other prevalent social issues. Essays and conversations with writers, critics, and art dealers round out this important analysis of Haring's life, career, and passion"--"The first comprehensive study of the political nature of Keith Haring's art"
Bridging the gap between the art world and the street, Keith Haring rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his graffiti drawings made in the subways and on the sidewalks of New York City. Combining the appeal of cartoons with the raw energy of Art Brut artists like Jean DuBuffet, Haring developed a distinct pop-graffiti aesthetic centered on fluid, bold outlines against a dense, rhythmic overspread of imagery like that of babies, barking dogs, flying saucers, hearts, and Mickey Mouse. In his subway drawings and murals, Haring explored themes of exploitation, subjugation, drug abuse, and rising fears of nuclear holocaust, which became increasingly apocalyptic after his AIDS diagnosis. Alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and Jenny Holzer, Haring is regarded as a leading figure in New York East Village Art scene in the 1970s and '80s.