Madonna, Brooke Shields Among Those Honoring Keith Haring, Who Would Have Been 60 Today

The legendary artist, who passed away in 1990 from AIDS-related complications, remains one of the most influential creators of his generation.

Fans and celebrities are honoring legendary artist and activist Keith Haring today, on what would have been his 60th birthday.

Haring was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and moved to New York City in 1978 to study painting, where he would spend the remainder of his life, and go on to become one of the most celebrated artists of the period. His expressive work contained elements of pop art and graffiti, and his stylized, boxy people and animals have become iconic.

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In addition to his prolific artistic output, which included paintings, drawings, and dozens of large scale murals and statues, he was an activist. Haring participating in ACT UP demonstrations, as well as providing artwork for the group, which advocates for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Haring passed away on February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications, at the age of 31. While his career only spanned roughly a decade, he is still recognized as one of the most famous and influential artists of his generation.

The year before he died, he established the Keith Haring Foundation to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children’s programs.

Madonna and Brooke Shields both honored their friend on his birthday, with the latter posting a photo of herself posing beneath a piece of artwork Haring made for her 21st birthday, which also doubled as the wrapping paper for the gift he gave her.

Jeff Taylor is a North Carolina-based journalist who writes for LGBTQ Nation, Q Notes and other outlets.
@jefftaylorhuman