Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography

John Gruen, Author Prentice Hall $30 (259p) ISBN 978-0-13-516113-5
Melding graffiti, pop art and archetypal symbolism, Keith Haring's semiabstract human torsos, ``radiant babies'' and dogs gave street art unusual depth and popular appeal. Raised in a Pennsylvania Dutch farm town, Haring became a Jesus freak, a druggie and a hippie by age 15, and, in the Manhattan art world, a rebel consumed by restless energy and a thirst for celebrity. His death from AIDS in 1990 at age 31 left unresolved the debate over whether his art is ephemeral or lasting. Consisting entirely of transcripts of interviews with Haring, his parents, sisters, teachers, colleagues, lovers and art dealers, this pastiche reads like preliminary notes for a biography. Kenny Scharf, Timothy Leary, Madonna, Yoko Ono, Francesco Clemente, Roy Lichtenstein and William Burroughs are among the interviewees. Their appreciations of Haring and his kinetic art are eloquent and touching. Some 100 plates (most in color) are sprinkled throughout. Gruen's books include The New Bohemia. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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