Keith Haring was a widely known, successful, and respected artist based in New York City during the 1980s, the most prolific period for his work. He became particularly known for his public art—paintings on subway walls, for example—that incorporated simple, almost child-like imagery in colorful and instantly identifiable ways. While his work in New York initially brought him fame, he became widely known around the world for public art commissions in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney), Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, and elsewhere, even painting a portion of the Berlin Wall.
Haring was known for using his art in his political activism, but he also had an affinity for working with and for children in his artistic endeavors. He combined these two interests in a collaboration ion 1986 with the CityKids Foundation, which involved 1,000 children to paint with Haring the banner titled “CityKids Speak on Liberty.” He also painted murals for a health center in Brooklyn and the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York. Another of his works adorned the exterior of a stairwell tower at the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital in Paris, painted in 1987.
Openly gay and diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, Haring left an indelible mark in the world of public art following his death from AIDS-related complications in 1990. Before his death, he started the Keith Haring Foundation, with the dual mission of extending his legacy and supporting organizations that assist children or promote education, research, and care related to AIDS.
The tower mural in Paris ended up in extreme disrepair by 2011 when the hospital was making plans for additional construction work. Initially thought to be beyond repair, the mural was recently restored due to efforts sponsored in party by the Keith Haring Foundation and extremely talented mural conservators. (The image of Haring's distinctive signature by P. Lamiero is shared here under CC BY-SA 3.0)
An 88-Foot-High Keith Haring Mural is Restored in Paris
By Roslyn Sulcas
The New York Times
September 7, 2017