Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring (Hardcover)
“It’s all here: the grade school Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss; the adolescent acid trips; the fondness for Post-it notes and flying saucers; the long tails of Dubuffet and Burroughs; the encounters with Madonna, Warhol, and one game-changer of a subway Johnny Walker Red poster. Brad Gooch takes us deep into Keith Haring’s imagination while somehow managing to fix the aura and energy of the 1980s New York art scene to the page. A keen-eyed, beautifully written biography, atmospheric, exuberant, and as radiant as they come.”—Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Revolutionary: Sam Adams
A stunning life of the iconic American artist, Keith Haring, by the acclaimed biographer Brad Gooch.
In the 1980s, the subways of New York City were covered with art. In the stations, black matte sheets were pasted over outdated ads, and unsigned chalk drawings often popped up on these blank spaces. These temporary chalk drawings numbered in the thousands and became synonymous with a city as diverse as it was at war with itself, beset with poverty and crime but alive with art and creative energy. And every single one of these drawings was done by Keith Haring.
Keith Haring was one of the most emblematic artists of the 1980s, a figure described by his contemporaries as “a prophet in his life, his person, and his work.” Part of an iconic cultural crowd that included Andy Warhol, Madonna, and Basquiat, Haring broke down the barriers between high art and popular culture, creating work that was accessible for all and using it as a means to provoke and inspire radical social change. Haring died of AIDS in 1990. To this day, his influence on our culture remains incontrovertible, and his glamorous, tragically short life has a unique aura of mystery and power.
Brad Gooch, noted biographer of Flannery O’Connor and Frank O’Hara, was granted access to Haring’s extensive archive. He has written a biography that will become the authoritative work on the artist. Based on interviews with those who knew Haring best and drawing from the rich archival history, Brad Gooch sets out to capture the magic of Keith Haring: a visionary and timeless icon.
Brad Gooch is a poet, novelist, and biographer whose previous ten books include Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and New York Times bestseller; City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara; Godtalk: Travels in Spiritual America; and the memoir Smash Cut. He is the recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships and lives in New York City.
“It’s all here: the grade school Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss; the adolescent acid trips; the fondness for Post-it notes and flying saucers; the long tails of Dubuffet and Burroughs; the encounters with Madonna, Warhol, and one game-changer of a subway Johnny Walker Red poster. Brad Gooch takes us deep into Keith Haring’s imagination while somehow managing to fix the aura and energy of the 1980s New York art scene to the page. A keen-eyed, beautifully written biography, atmospheric, exuberant, and as radiant as they come.” — Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Revolutionary: Sam Adams
"Brad Gooch is the perfect guide to 1980s downtown Manhattan's holy, scuzzy streets. This rigorous, loving exploration of Keith Haring's life and work will be cherished by fans of Haring, art history, and New York City." — Ada Calhoun, New York Times-bestselling author of Also a Poet
“A rewarding deep dive . . . . Gooch captures the innovative, whirlwind creative spirit of the artist . . . . Shot through with details that bring to life the tumultuous social ferment of the era, this honors the inimitable spirit of a defining figure in the art world.” — Publishers Weekly
"Keith Haring’s art is the most identifiable of any since Andy Warhol’s. Yet Keith Haring the man is known to a very few. Brad Gooch’s brilliant Haring biography Radiant corrects that imbalance. By the end of his powerful telling of Haring’s life, the reader understands the searching boy and comes to admire the young man whose work—combining play and politics—had global impact. It’s impossible after reading Gooch’s book to see Haring’s famous lines and not recognize in them the beautiful yet tragic man who created them." — Mary Gabriel, author of Madonna: A Rebel Life
“Haring is the central figure in Gooch’s lively portrayal of a roiling art world and of gay culture in the 1980s . . . . A sympathetic and well-researched portrait.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Radiant is a miracle of research but reads as quickly as Haring lived his remarkable life.” — Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story
“Through interviews and research, Gooch captures the enduring allure of Keith Haring, a visionary artist with a profound impact on culture.” — She Reads