Description

“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 In the stations, black matte sheets were pasted over outdated ads, and unsigned chalk drawings often popped up on these blank spaces.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.

About the author(s)

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,a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a 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.

Reviews

“Finding a chronicler with the proper combination of familiarity and detachment can be like going on a series of bad Hinge dates, but in Gooch, Haring has met his match. Radiant, referring to both Haring’s recurrent drawing of a crawling baby and his own fast-burning star, is a faithful retracing of his steps, with over 200 people interviewed or consulted: devoted and probably definitive . . . . [Gooch] is a poet, which shows in phrasing at once shrewd and evocative . . . . Gooch’s book insists readers slow down and consider the artist’s legacy.”   — Alexandra Jacobs, The New York Times

"[Haring’s] admirers continue to complain that he isn’t taken seriously enough; in a way, they are correct, though this book may change things . . . . highly entertaining.” — The New Yorker

Radiant…does exactly what biographies of the exceptionally famous should do: Gently, graciously, it reels in the myth, restoring the flesh-and-bone reality….Gooch…acknowledges complicating facts…and gives voice to forgotten but important ancillary figures….What was special about Haring, surely, was his vitality. He drew on the energy of his environment, and Gooch’s descriptions of the booming East Village art scene…are indelible. Vitality can be amplified by proximity to mortality, and what makes this book heartbreaking—I cried upon finishing it—is having to watch on as Haring is slowly overtaken by death.” — Washington Post

“[A] thorough account of Haring’s brief time . . . . Haring may be gone, but that radiant infant? Still going.” — AirMail

"Gooch made it his mission to show how much living and creating Haring packed into just 31 years, and he more than succeeds. Radiant not only gives us a much-overdue appreciation of Haring as an important artist. It also paints an exhilarating portrait of a young artist finding himself and his calling.... His chronicle of Haring’s volcanic rise is deeply engaged with the culture of the time and place—not only the art world but also the gay community and New York.... Radiant has given us a more vibrant and complete picture of the enduring gifts of Keith Haring’s life." — Los Angeles Times

"A compelling biography . . . . Meticulous . . . . Gooch vividly evokes New York in the early 1980s." — The Guardian (London)

“Critics and curators still struggle with Haring’s legacy. Radiant makes room for a multiplicity of motivations: Haring was an earnest humanist, alive to the liberating capacity of art; or a keen observer of American television and cartoons whose saturated gloss he mirrored in his art; or an early master of self-promotion.” — New York Times

“Gooch's extensive research creates a seductive portrait of the artist as a young man . . . . As in previous books on Frank O'Hara and Flannery O'Connor, Gooch writes bourbon-smooth prose." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Gooch does a beautiful job of uncovering the man behind the beloved graffiti and offers us the first truly intimate look at one of the most important artists of the 20th century.” — Huffington Post

"An unforgettable portrait of an icon who's as smart, charming, and multifaceted as the masterpieces that he left behind.” — Town & Country

“We are attracted to the biographies of artists for a variety of reasons . . . . to better comprehend the mystery of the painful obstacles that defined their shortened lives, and how these experiences intersected with their creations. Brad Gooch’s new biography . . . does precisely that . . . . rich, emotional, and compelling.”
The Nation

“The world that Gooch describes, of interconnected gay and cultural networks in the febrile atmosphere of 1980s New York, is one in which he too took part. And first-hand experience has clearly proved integral in shaping his book, for it reads not only as the definitive biography of its subject, but as a memorial to a collective past, from which many did not survive.” — The Art Newspaper

“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 thorough, intricately detailed, and enthralling portrait of a singular artist who followed his own winding road to artistic success until AIDS cut short his highly creative life."

Booklist (starred review)

“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

"Fans of Haring’s will not want to miss this definitive account of the artist’s life." — The Millions

A compelling analysis of the remarkable legacy of visual artist Keith Haring. Gooch was a contemporary of Haring . . . [and he] draws on this on-the-spot knowledge to good effect. Much has been written about Haring from an art history perspective, but Gooch adds immeasurably to the literature with this sensitive and engaging contextualized portrait that examines the life and times of the iconic artist . . . a compendium of vivid, first-person narratives that provide an engaging insider’s perspective on the artist’s life.” — The Arts Fuse

“If you liked Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art, by Mary Gabriel, read Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring, by Brad Gooch." — Washington Post Book World

“Writer Brad Gooch’s career goes from strength to strength. Not many people can move from working as a model to turning out quickie bios on Hall & Oates and Billy Idol to substantive works of fiction, memoir and acclaimed biographies of poet Frank O’Hara and writer Flannery O’Connor. Now Gooch proves the perfect author to capture the all-too-brief career of artist Keith Haring and the turbulent, exciting times they both lived through.” — Parade

“Gooch delivers not only a biography of the artist but a globe-trotting account of how Haring’s pictograms flooded the zeitgeist.” — New Republic

“Thorough and thoughtful . . . . A solid choice for those with an interest in pop art figures or gay culture of the 1970s and ’80s, particularly in relation to the AIDS epidemic in New York City.” — Library Journal

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

 “Gooch has produced the authoritative and likely definitive account of this emblematic, prophetic artist of the 1980s . . . . Having lived in Haring's world, Gooch is superlative in recreating the excitement and volatility of that burgeoning East Side New York art scene, with its accompanying cultural upheaval. His prose shines.” — Bay Area Reporter

“Through interviews and research, Gooch captures the enduring allure of Keith Haring, a visionary artist with a profound impact on culture.” — She Reads

"A compelling analysis of the remarkable legacy of artist Keith Haring . . . . Much has been written about Haring from an art history perspective, but Gooch adds to the corpus with this sensitive and engaging portrait of his life and his legacy as an artist.” — The Gay & Lesbian Review?

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