The openly gay Keith Haring, who died of AIDS at the age of 31 in 1990, is best remembered for his cartoonish and vibrant paintings. But the graphic pop artist and human rights activist also broke fresh ground with the amount of LGBT imagery and symbolism he brought to his art. He would have been 55 this year.
Remember all those times he was cooler than you’ll ever be?
2. When he was (literally) too cool for school:
“The people I met who were doing it seemed really unhappy; they said that they were only doing it for a job while they did their own art on the side, but in reality that was never the case–their own art was lost. I quit the school.”
9. That time he was diagnosed with AIDS and not one fuck was given.
In an interview Keith discussed how his diagnosis made him appreciate the little things. “Appreciating things in a way that you never appreciated before. Every day when I walk out of the house and feel a warm breeze and look up and see the clouds in the sky, it’s incredible.”
13. That time he literally had no regrets.
14. And, of course, when he painted huge penises and got away with it.
Some of his work still resides in New York City, such as the bathroom of the Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. While the room has been through some transformations (it now serves as a meeting room), the mural has remained one of the Center’s artistic treasures