If you thought you scored big back in the day when you discovered your older sister’s diary and mined it for blackmail, then get yourself to the Brooklyn Museum, fifth floor. There you can peep on pages straight from the rarely seen journals and sketchbooks of a young Keith Haring, and catch a glimpse of the early brilliance that inspired the evolution of street art as we know it.

The show is the first large-scale exhibition that explores Haring’s early career. In addition to archival objects such as sketchbooks and experimental videos, there are about 155 works on paper, including 30 of Haring’s iconic black-and-white subway drawings. Haring was no stranger to damp cell floors, and spent plenty of nights locked up for his below-ground work, done in chalk on black pieces of paper and used to cover old advertisements.

Editio Media had the opportunity to review the exhibit earlier this month, and was struck by the unique life in every piece. Though Haring lost his battle to AIDS in 1990, his legacy lives on through his work, which birth to a fantastic world that celebrates life and glorifies unity, but challenges it’s viewers to consider the dangers of becoming just another (empty) body in the crowd.

I am interested in making art to be experienced and explored by as many individuals as possible with as many different individual ideas about the given piece with no final meaning attached. The viewer creates the reality, the meaning, the conception of the piece. I am merely a middleman trying to bring together ideas.

—Keith Haring, journal entry, October 14, 1978