04 May 2012

It's Keith Haring's Birthday

Google's take on Keith Haring
Today's Google doodle was a tribute to Keith Haring on what would have been his 54th birthday.  I was a college student at Howard University when I first became familiar with the work of this artist.  A street vendor on Georgia Avenue had one of his posters boldly displayed along with several other items touting the conscious messages of the time: Free South Africa, No Gold, +ve Blackall for his own bootlegged financial gain.  Ah, the beauty of capitalism. Forgive me for digressing, but you get the idea.  
Free South Africa, 1985 poster from offset lithograph, 48" sq.
I purchased the oversize poster and managed to get it safely to my dorm room without any damage.  It maintained a place of prominence on my wall until sadly, it no longer worked with my color scheme the vicissitudes of youth.  I really like Haring's aesthetic.  His use of bright bold colors and simple forms that are somehow figural and abstract at once really appeal to me.  Here's the final contrast, his figures have a child-like, coloring-book quality about them because they are heavily outlined but sometimes the content is more adult than child-like. Hey, that's art!

Untitled, 1981 acrylic on canvas, 120" sq.
Keith Haring died in 1990 at the age of 31 from an AIDS-related illness. There is still time to support someone participating in the AIDS WALK New York on May 20th. The executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation speaks eloquently about the artist, his work, AIDS and the foundation so click on over to Google's blog on it's doodles and read Julia Gruen's words for yourself.  Let's all give a hat tip to Keith Haring and the legacy of his art!


Minis-B-Happenin' said...

A very nice and informative tribute. Hey, my hubby graduated from Howard U. School of Divinity. I went to D.C. for the first time last Spring and loved it. That's a city I could live in. It was a very different experience from SoCal.

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