Bibliphile: ‘Harring-isms’ puts the focus on quotes by the influential artist

Keith Haring was one of the most acclaimed and influential artists of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. His graffiti based work was heavily influenced by his sexuality and the effects of the AIDS epidemic.

While Haring’s work often featured works and phrases, it’s unexpected to see a book about what he said, rather than what he painted. After Haring died of an AIDS related illness on February 16th 1990 his diaries were published given an insight into his life, work, and thoughts – it’s a great read and I thoroughly recommend chasing down a copy.

This new cute yellow book, featuring his radiant baby tag on the cover, brings together short quotes from the artist drawn together from a wide variety of sources. Over 10 chapters the quotes are arranged into topics such as ‘youth’, ‘public art’, ‘pop culture’ ‘subway drawings’ ‘sex’ and ‘AIDS’.

In these short quotes are captured the essence of 1980’s American conservatism, as Haring notes that people in America are shy when it comes to talking about safe sex, while in Europe he notices people speak openly. The section of AIDS has strong cross over with becoming obsessed with getting as much work done as possible and the artist’s fear that he will run out of time to finish his projects.

Haring-isms is maybe not a book you read from cover to cover, but it’s a lovely ray of sunshine to drop on your coffee table for constant inspiration.


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