Keith Haring was born in Pennsylvania in 1958; at age 19, he moved to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts, pursuing his dream of becoming an artist.
In New York, he discovered the thriving alternative art world of the downtown streets, subways and nightclubs. Haring soon became one of the best-known artists responding to the urban culture of the 1980s. Drawing in white chalk on the black paper then used to cover expired advertising panels in the subway stations, Haring developed a vocabulary of images that would become his signature: the radiant baby, the barking dog, and the running figure.
By 1982, Haring was exhibiting in galleries and museums around the world, and also participating in public projects, including literacy campaigns and AIDS awareness initiatives. Haring utilized a variety of media in order to communicate essential themes such as birth, death, love and war to a mass audience.
Keith Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and died of AIDS-related complications in 1990. Since his death he has been the subject of several international retrospectives, and his work is held in major private and public collections. Although his career was brief, his imagery has become a universally recognized visual language of the 20th century.