Review of Artist Keith Haring – The Mature Period
By: David K. Montoya

What is known as the Mature Period of Keith Haring is agreed to be around 1978 to 1982, it was this time that the artist built a respected label as a rebel among the artist community. Whether it was other street artists, alternative indoor space artists or even, outside the elite New York all recognized Haring for going his own direction not only in a creative respect, but in life as well.

Over time, Haring established representation from Tony Shafrazi (the owner of the Shafrazi Art Gallery in New York), who assisted him in 1982 to debut his first highly publicized fine art in the prominent and highly acclaimed one–man exhibition at Shafrazi's Soho gallery. That would be the course of the direction of his career for the next few years, as he was a participant in distinguished international exhibitions such as Documenta 7 in Kassel, the Sao Paulo Biennial, and back home at the Whitney Biennial in New York.

Although Haring was involved in exhibitions, he remained creating murals and public work all around the globe, it seemed in the 1980s wherever his feet touched he left his brand of unique artwork behind in places like: Europe, South America, and Australia. It was during this time Haring also got a chance to see the art of ancient cultures in an intimate way, which left a lasting impression on his artwork. A few places that are said to have influenced him the most were, the Maya of Central America, Bahia–Brazil's peoples of mixed African and native descent, and the Aboriginal people of Australia.

In 1986, Haring created a mural celebrating the hundred year anniversary of the Statue of Liberty—it was reported that the artist worked with an amazing number of children that was estimated to be around nine hundred!

Then in 1987, Haring would create another mural this time for Necker Children's Hospital in Paris, France. But, what caught the World's attention was when he did another mural (which would remain until November 9, 1989) on the Western side of the Berlin Wall.

As his fame grew, his creativity was used in other mediums such as developing watch designs for Swatch, an advertising campaign for Absolut Vodka and even was paid big money to paint bodies of top celebrities of that era. But, outside the commissioned art, Haring's personal work was very politically motivated, and was apart of the campaign to raise awareness about AIDS and South African Apartheid.

It was during his Mature Period, Haring developed a friendship with another world renowned Pop Artist, Andy Warhol. Much in the same way in respects to Jean–Michel Basquiat relationship with him, Warhol's affiliation added to Haring's importance and overall acceptance of his artwork with the exclusive Fine Art Establishment (although, American museum curators were still quite leery about Haring's place as a artist).

It was an echo from earlier years, when European Museums attained some of what would become known as the most significant American modern artists of the 1950s and 1960s, while American Museums declined their work. In fact, to this very day, the largest American Museum of Modern Art located in New York and Chicago have obtained a couple of Keith Haring's lesser works, while other places such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Los Angeles County Museum of Art have none at all.

Also during that time, was the year that Haring opened his POP SHOP, a store dedicated to his own art and merchandise in downtown Manhattan. The interior was decorated in the Artist's many black and white doodles while was said to have had covered every open area in the store. Haring wanted the merchandise to not only be popular among the people, he wanted it to be affordable.

But like all stars that burn bright, only burn for so long. It was during the apex of his career Haring (who was at the forefront of the crusade for AIDS awareness), was diagnosed with that very disease in 1988. In the year that followed, the artist founded the Keith Haring Foundation to provide funding and images to AIDS organizations, and allotted backing to finding a cure. Despite his ailment Haring continued to create artwork right up to his death on February 16, 1990 from complications related to the disease—Keith Allen Haring was only 31 years old.