Haring’s art first began getting attention with the graffiti he would create on blank ad spaces in New York subway platforms. He’d later use it to create fliers and art work for the ACT UP movement which was fighting against the AIDS epidemic ravaging New York, America, and the world.
His art seems simple at first glance. There’s no shading, no illusion of depth, not even faces. But, like Haring’s own activism, there’s an overwhelming motion and rhythm to every piece, mobilizing its viewer toward a sexual, joyous utopia.
Haring shot to international stardom and was commissioned to do a mural on the Berlin Wall. It was over 900 feet long and featured black and red figures interlocking arms in front of a yellow background, representing the hope of German unity.
Haring died from AIDS complications at 31.