Keith Haring Journals by Keith Haring

Renowned in his lifetime for spontaneous, hands-on, archetypal imagery, Keith Haring was embraced by a street audience while also winning the respect of the art establishment during his prolific and regrettably brief ten-year career. His journals, kept from his teens until just before his death from AIDS in 1990, dispel any lingering notion of him as a "naive" artist, and reveal him to be a conscientious, serious, visionary artist, committed to extending the boundaries of art. Here in his own words - illustrated with previously unpublished drawings from his notebooks - is Haring's record of the evolution of his work, from on-the-road notes and early ideas about art, to School of Visual Arts experiments, to early subway chalk drawings, to full-scale color canvases, outdoor murals, collaborative public art projects with children, massive suburban steel sculptures and international exhibitions. The journals track his emergence into world fame as a pop icon, his hectic and colorful social life in the New York scene, and his friendships with Andy Warhol, Timothy Leary, William S. Burroughs and other writers, musicians and artists. Haring documents his efforts to bring art and everyday life closer through the controversial Pop Shop, which remains a vital legacy of his work. Later entries show him expanding his understanding of what the role of the artist should be, trying to deal with his entry into the commercial world and pop culture, and coming to accept his impending death from AIDS: "Work is all I have and art is more important than life." Robert Farris Thompson's lively and provocative introduction situates Haring in relation to the art historical establishment, and shows the intellectual underpinnings of his work, including the influence of such painters as Leger, Alechinsky, Dubuffet, Stella, Pollock, and Olitski.

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