Keith Haring was born on May 4, 1958 in Reading and grew up in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. His first one-man exhibition was at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in 1978. He moved to New York City that year to study at the School of Visual Arts. In the early 1980s, the young artist first attained notoriety by using the methods of graffiti to literally make his mark on the city. Creating a style that would soon become renowned worldwide, Haring “tagged” chalk outlines of buoyant, interlocking bodies on the black poster mounts of New York City subway stations. His vocabulary of images, such as the radiant child and barking dog, soon became instantly recognizable.
Haring went on to have numerous exhibitions of his work and was represented by such well-known dealers as Tony Shafrazi, Andre Emmerich, and Leo Castelli. He was prolific in his artwork, generous in support of social causes, and went on to help choreograph music videos and produce coloring books and t-shirts for children. He opened his Pop Shop in 1986, with the proceeds helping to finance his charitable causes, such as Learning through Art and Doing Art Together, two programs that brought art to schools. He provided funds for numerous children’s organizations, supported efforts to oppose apartheid, and donated designs and funds to advance the cause of AIDS research.