Illustration of a group of intertwined black outlined figures on a white background. Red text wraps all the way around the illustration.
© KEITH HARING '85
"Party of Life" is an illustration from one of the best-known artists from the 20th century, Keith Haring. Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an artist and social activist from Pennsylvania whose work was influenced by the New York City street culture and graffiti art of the 1980s. A 1997 Vanity Fair article states that "some of his most characteristic imagery involved figures twirling around and playing together, happy but never aimless." Since Haring's early death from AIDS-related illness in 1990, images he created that speak about racism, drug addiction, AIDS awareness and tolerance have become iconic.
This button was used as a ticket to attend Haring's "Party of Life" event in 1985, which was an exhibit of Haring's art. The image represents Haring's feeling upon arriving in New York City. Growing up as a gay man in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Haring felt the need to find a place where he has the freedom to express his creativity and artistry. New York gave him such liberation. When asked about the movement in his figures, Haring indicated in an interview that he felt the city was dancing and he needed the join "the dance."