Keith Haring: a Pop Art icon
Main protagonist of the New York art scene of the legendary 80s, Keith Haring became a Pop Art icon thanks to his unique graphic style, instantly recognizable and loved not only by art lovers, but also by a wider audience, always been seduced by his vivid drawings and his “dancing men”.
Hard not having bumped across the works of this great artist. Much easier ignoring that he is their author. But those who know him, appreciate even more the powerful, alternative and avant-garde message, that has won over critics and public, across-the-board and universally.
Against mental barriers, against divisions of race, sex, culture and language, his ability to synthesize allowed him to describe with ideograms the love for life, the joy of living, the joy of existing, but also the reporting of abuse and persecutions, the fight against drugs abuse and AIDS. His colours are pure, without nuances, to attract one’s attention; contour lines are thick and well defined, to make the message clear and immediate.
It’s a style that stands out, strikes, that can be recognized and remembered. New, colourful, provocative, brilliant and immediate. These qualities make Keith famous. His art is dictated by the urgengy of living, the desire to communicate and to go beyond the limits, almost as if he felt that he had little time left.
«Art has no meaning because it has many meanings, infinite meanings. Art is different for every individual, and is definable only by the given individual. There are no set answers, only questions».
The untimely death of Keith, who died thirty-one-year-old in 1990, has helped to create a myth, feed his reputation and rocketing prices of his works. Today every painting or sculpture is worth hundreds of thousands of Euros, and collectors, galleries and museums around the world compete for his creations.
Art applied to everyday objects
Keith Haring himself wanted to spread his art, even by reproducing it in t-shirts, posters, original gadgets. For him, art needed to be accessible to anyone and for this reason he made his first graffitis (the subway drawings, in the New York metro free advertising panels) and then the murals, which he made all over the world; the last one is "Tuttomondo" and can be found in Italy, on the façade of the Sant’Antonio Abbate church in Pisa.
About the murals he says: «I dont’ think that since [the subway drawings] I’ve ever done anything as pure as that. Maybe the outdoor murals which can’t be removed. I’ve done murals all over the world which can’t be removed and have no monetary value».
The first Pop Shop selling his gadgets, opened in 1986 in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan, was ment with the target of getting in touch with public. Keith is interested in communicating that art can change the world and this cannot be a message for a few, recluse in art galleries. He himself says: «The Pop Shop makes it accessible. To me, the Pop Shop is totally in keeping ideologically with what Andy was doing and what conceptual artists and earth artists were doing: It was all about participation on a big level. If it was about money, I could have been the most successful commercial designer and illustrator in the world».
Keith Haring Foundation in New York
Keith Haring has provided his talent to support numerous causes. He taught in art workshops for children, created logos and posters for humanitarian organizations, produced works in favour of health care centers and communities for the most disadvantaged.
In 1989, Keith established the foundation that bears his name to ensure the continuation of his message and the support for charities.
The Keith Haring Foundation continues to spread the creed, the messages and Keith’s art, organizing exhibitions, events, licensing his most representative works and supporting in particular organizations active in the education of disadvantaged children and AIDS prevention and treatment.
The partnership between Creativando and Keith Haring Foundation
The idea of art applied to everyday objects and furniture is a fundamental part of Creativando’s work, who initially took inspiration by Pop Art for its creations.
The partnership with the Keith Haring Foundation is an hidden dream, but in 2001 the proposal to create a collection of home accessories using Keith Haring images is approved and begins.
It's something new also for the Foundation, used to handling exhibitions, shows and related products, such as postcards, posters, small gift items and memories of the events.
The central idea of the Creativando/KH Foundation project is to transfer Keith’s art on a number of common use items, such as chairs, blankets, pouf.
After overcoming the initial difficulties, the experiments and doubts about public response of such innovative and particular products, the first Creativando/Keith Haring furniture items are officially launched in professional fairs in autumn 2001. The feedback is positive and higher than expected. Products are appreciated, the simplicity and originality of the idea are attractive. Even the Press Office of the Foundation is furnished with Quark chairs by Creativando, personalized with Keith Haring’s images.
A contemporary furniture collection
The partnership with the Keith Haring Foundation continues uninterrupted. Year after year, the products are growing, the collection expands, the concept of “applied art” takes shape. It is a collection directly inspired by Keith’s message, dedicated to those who live the art, who appreciate beauty, who like the ideas outside the box, who like to surprise with unusual and cultured gifts.
Nowadays so many and uncommon are the furniture objects dedicated to Keith Haring’s art. Hearts or vases made in fine Italian ceramics, Cubolibre poufs (used as seats or low tables), the soft and warm wool blankets, Art-Up coat-hooks, the Oplà magazine rack, the pillows collection (made of cotton or artificial leather). All special and unique “pieces”, made in Italy using quality raw materials and Keith’s “great” art. How to own, give oneself or someone else a piece of “accessible” art.