Art Is Life: The Life of Artist Keith Haring

Farrar. Dec. 2020. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780374304249.
K-Gr 2–This picture book spotlights one of America’s most famous pop artists. From his earliest years, Keith Haring (1958–1990) was an artist. Haring, who grew up in small-town Pennsylvania, surrounded himself with art. He drew constantly and anywhere he could. When Haring was 20, he moved to New York City and attended the School of Visual Arts. Haring believed that art was for everyone; he shared his passion for beauty and joy on the streets, in museums, and across the world. He didn’t limit his artistic expression to traditional mediums; he drew on the walls of the subway stations with chalk. In 1986, he opened a store in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo and called it the Pop Shop. His art spoke to social issues such as racism and drug abuse and championed love and unity. He even painted a mural on the Berlin Wall in 1986. Haring was only 31 when he passed away, but his accomplishments made a lasting impact. Negley’s illustrations capture the kinetic energy of Haring’s work while carrying readers from one phase of his life to the next. The text is simple but lovely, punctuated by Haring’s personal philosophy: Art is life; life is art. An author’s note offers further understanding of this icon’s creative legacy and life. Resources include one list for children and one for adults.
VERDICT An eye-catching addition to school and public library art sections.

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