Keith Haring, ‘Drawing for Eri by Haring and Scharf’, Allouche Gallery

About Keith Haring

Bridging the gap between the art world and the street, Keith Haring rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his graffiti drawings made in the subways and on the sidewalks of New York City. Combining the appeal of cartoons with the raw energy of Art Brut artists like Jean DuBuffet, Haring developed a distinct pop-graffiti aesthetic centered on fluid, bold outlines against a dense, rhythmic overspread of imagery like that of babies, barking dogs, flying saucers, hearts, and Mickey Mouse. In his subway drawings and murals, Haring explored themes of exploitation, subjugation, drug abuse, and rising fears of nuclear holocaust, which became increasingly apocalyptic after his AIDS diagnosis. Alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and Jenny Holzer, Haring is regarded as a leading figure in New York East Village Art scene in the 1970s and '80s.

American, 1958-1990, Reading, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York

About Kenny Scharf

Muralist, painter, sculptor, and installation artist Kenny Scharf is best known for his fantastical, large-scale paintings of anthropomorphic animals and imagined creatures, as in Viva Mare Viva Mar (2011). Though Scharf’s brightly colored imagery is generally playful, he has remarked that darker themes exist beneath the surface of his works, visible upon closer inspection. Scharf was a part of the 1980s East Village Art movement, along with his good friend and fellow street artist Keith Haring. The artist says he has been influenced by all 20th-century art movements, including Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, the latter reflected in his appropriation of cartoon characters from television shows like the Flintstones and Jetsons and his humorous depiction of snack food in Maple Glazed Donut Over Fertile Landscape (2011). Scharf’s oftentimes dense and frenetic compositions also echo a Baroque sensibility.

American, b. 1958, Los Angeles, California