Keith Haring grew up in an evangelical Christian family, but his art became synonymous with the gay-rights movement that sprung up around the AIDS crisis that eventually claimed his life. His strong, clean graphic sense created an instantly recognizable style, with his abstracted human figures conveying political messages in unmistakable terms while alluding to gay sex in ways that were palatable to a mainstream audience. This weekend, Arlington Museum of Art mounts a retrospective of Haring’s work called Keith Haring: Against All Odds, a blockbuster show to rival the ones being put on by Fort Worth’s museums.
Of course, not all of Haring’s work was about AIDS and gay rights. He also worked to combat South African apartheid and the crack epidemic that was sweeping New York City during his time, as well as critiquing the rampant consumerism among the city’s moneyed class. Decades after his death, his charitable foundation still operates to provide art education to disadvantaged children, which is something to keep in mind when you’re thinking of buying Haring merchandise that’s sure to be on sale at AMA. If you’re looking for a destination for Pride, there’s no better one around here than Arlington.
Keith Haring: Against All Odds runs Fri thru Sep 15 at Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W Main St, Arlington. Admission is $5-8. Call 817-275-4600.