The Universe of Keith Haring

Year: 2007
Country: Italy
Running time: 90 mins

Photography: Christina Clausen
Editor: Silvia Giuletti
Music: Angelo Talocci
In English, French and German, with English subtitles
Colour and B&W/DigiBeta/M offensive language, sexual references, drug use

With: Joan Haring, Allen Haring, Jeffrey Deitch, Kermit Oswald, Karen DeLong, Kay Haring, Kristen Haring, Kenny Scharf

Festivals: Rome 2007; Tribeca 2008

Artist Keith Haring, who rocketed to fame in the early 1980s with his bold, cartoon-like pictures, was an unstoppable force who drew on every surface he could find - cars, walls, T-shirts and the subway - because he believed art changed people's lives. Like his friend Jean-Michel Basquiat, he took graffiti and street art into galleries, where curators, collectors and the general public responded warmly to his accessible, optimistic imagery. Throughout the late 70s and 80s he was also at the centre of a wild New York club scene, partying with the likes of Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Madonna. The sights and sounds of those heady decades are brought vividly to life here through music, photo stills, and audio excerpts from interviews conducted with Haring shortly before he died from an AIDS-related illness at the age of 31. As chic and upbeat as the man it profiles, this affectionate portrait refuses to turn Haring's short life into a tragedy. Instead, it celebrates the enduring spirit of his life and art. — BZ