In recognition of Keith Haring’s birthday, Google changed its homepage graphic to one made from the artist’s iconic figures. Haring was famous for being a prolific creator of public art and a strong HIV/AIDS advocate, but passed away at the young age of 31 from AIDS-related complications. He would have been 54 years old today.
It was Haring’s sidewalk chalk drawings in New York that first gained him wider recognition, and his particular brand of featureless but remarkably expressive figures helped define the aesthetic of the 80’s. Haring was also openly gay and worked tirelessly as a safe sex advocate to combat the AIDS epidemic, but also used his work to draw attention to a wide range of social justice causes including Apartheid and drug addiction. His belief that his art should be used to affect real social change was further reflected in The Keith Haring Foundation, which he created a year before his death and still provides funding and support for children and HIV/AIDS-related non-profit organizations.