CHICAGO — A sculpture from iconic artist and LGBT activist Keith Haring will be added to the city’s tribute garden to AIDS victims.
Haring’s “Self-Portrait” sculpture will be placed in the new AIDS Garden set to open in 2019, according to a news release from the Mayor’s Office. Haring was a famed artist and activist in the late ’80s and early ’90s who himself died from AIDS-related complications.
While AIDS and HIV can affect anyone, they have heavily impacted gay communities. When AIDS first came to public attention in the late ’80s, it was widely ignored for years because it was perceived as a virus that only affected and killed gay people. Queer activists like Haring worked for years to bring more attention to AIDS and its impact on gay people.
“There is no stronger activist than Keith Haring to help us honor the lives of those lost and celebrate those who work tirelessly to educate and raise awareness,” said Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who represents Boystown. “’Self-Portrait’s’ new home at AIDS Garden Chicago is a small but powerful way to continue talking about the epidemic as we fight to bring both HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths to zero.”
The AIDS Garden serves as a tribute to Chicagoans who have been affected by AIDS. Besides the sculpture, it will also receive landscaping improvements, including new trees and plants, the Mayor’s Office said.
“Having this unique work as the centerpiece of Chicago’s new AIDS Garden is an honor for the Keith Haring Foundation, as it would have been for Haring himself,” said Julia Gruen, executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation, in a news release.
The garden will be in a 2.5-acre space along the lakefront between Belmont and Diversey harbors.