Born on May 4 in Reading, Pennsylvania and grew up in Kutztown.


Graduates from high school and moves to Pittsburgh. Keith enters the Ivy School of Professional Art. Has his first solo exhibition at the Pittsburgh Arts and Crafts Center.


Moves to New York and enrolls in the School of Visual Arts (SVA). He also meets and becomes friends with Kenny Scharf, John Sex and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


Keith starts using his signature calligraphic lines. Starts his series of subway drawings with chalk on black matte paper which were used to cover up blank advertisement panels in the subway system.


Organizes a joint exhibition with LA II at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery. Works include paintings on tarpaulin.


Becomes acquainted with Andy Warhol and Madonna.
Has his first body painting performance in Naples, Italy.


Exhibits the Venice Biennial.
Paints murals in many cities around the world including Sydney, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro and Minneapolis. He frequents the Factory where he develops a friendship with Warhol and other notables.


Stop subway drawings.
Participates in the Paris Biennial. Designs for Swatch and a logo for a German pharmaceutical company. Prints 20,000 anti-apartheid (Free South Africa) posters and distributes them.


Exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Open the Pop Shop in New York and sell original T-shirts, toys, posters and other goods.
For the Centennial of the Statue of Liberty creates a huge banner in collaboration with more than 1000 children.


Exhibits at the 10th year Anniversary Exhibition of the Pompidou Center in Paris. Draws on the staircase of the historical Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris.


Opens the Tokyo Pop Shop. Is diagnosed with AIDS.


Is active in various AIDS-prevention campaign activities.
Carries out mural projects in Barcelona, Monaco, Iowa City, Chicago, New York, and the famous "Tuttomondo" in the Church of San Antonio Abate in Pisa.


Died on February 16 in Greenwich Village through AIDS-related complications.

Keith Haring on New York City Subway, circa 1982

Keith Haring on New York City Subway, circa 1982


"The first thing I want to do is break down the barrier between commercial and traditional art"

"My hope is that one day, the kids who spend their time on the street will get used to being surrounded by art and that they can feel at ease if they go to a museum"

"Art is life, life is art. The importance attributed to both is exaggerated and misunderstood"

"The destructive element exists in all art, but ultimately it is determined only by the ideas of those who benefit from it"

"Art has no meaning because it has many, it has infinite meanings"

"To define my art is to destroy its purpose"

"Nobody knows what the supreme meaning of my work is, because there is none"

"The only time I'm happy is when I'm working"

"I am sitting on a balcony and looking at the top of the Leaning Tower. It is really very beautiful here. If there is a paradise, I hope it's like this"

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Courtesy of Nakamura Keith Haring Collection © Keith Haring Foundation