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Happy Birthday Street Art Pioneer Keith Haring [GALLERY]

Submitted by on May 4, 2012 – 11:58 amOne Comment

Keith Haring, one of the masters of New York pop street art whose work has recently experienced a renaissance thanks to contemporary tastemakers like Swizz Beatz, would have celebrated his 54th birthday if he was with us today.

“The public needs art and it is the responsibility of a ‘self-proclaimed artist’ to realize that the public needs art, and not to make bourgeois art for a few and ignore the masses,” Haring once said in response to snooty art critics who deemed his work too “accessible.” Moving to New York from Pennsylvania as a teenager to decorate the city’s subways and club scenes with his whimsical imagery, he quickly gained fans in such iconic peers as Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna. He passed away at the young age of 31 from complications with AIDS and charities were immediately set up in his name to donate money to finding a cure for the disease.

The Keith Haring: 1978-1982 exhibition runs at the Brooklyn Museum till July 8, 2012.

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