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Keith Haring, Best Buddies, 1990. Courtesy of Hamilton-Selway Fine Art.

Keith Haring: Best Buddies

Keith Haring completed his final print series, “Best Buddies,” just 10 days before dying from AIDS-related complications in 1990. The “Best Buddies” motif, which first appeared in Haring’s work in 1987, depicts two figures hugging, with rays emanating from their embrace. Like many of Haring’s iconic symbols, “Best Buddies” is purposefully uncomplicated, inviting viewers to create their own interpretations of the scene. Haring’s figures have no specified race, gender, or sexual orientation, and they instead appear as anonymous emblems of universal love and acceptance. Haring dedicated the motif to Best Buddies, a charity that assists people living with developmental disabilities—and the organization has continued to use this image as its logo ever since. Embodying Haring’s guiding philosophies about art and activism, “Best Buddies” is a primary example of the artist’s enduring impact on the social justice causes that animated his career and life.

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