Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist whose work was a response to New York City’s street culture of the 1980s. His work explores the themes of birth, death, sex and war which were very fitting for the period in which he lived and worked. Keith Haring was openly gay at a time when most of the LGBT community kept their sexuality behind closed doors. A large part of Haring’s impact as an artist was how his art raised awareness of AIDS. Many of his works were featured in the Red Hot Organization’s efforts to raise money for AIDS research and AIDS awareness. Keith Haring himself died of AIDS in 1990 at age 32.
Along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Haring was a central figure in Warhol’s creative and social circle. Through his public murals, subway drawings, as well as his prints and paintings, Haring created a range of images that have become internationally recognized and heavily appropriated across a bevy of genres and industries and inspire the work of artist’s such as Banksy to this day.