by Charles Webb, 3 February 2014
Can we agree that “Sesame Street” is the true arbiter of cultural cool? The show that has taught kids how to read, write, and count has also featured musicians, avant garde artists, and actors in their prime because babies need to know about Lady Gaga, apparently?
I kid, but it’s been fascinating over the years to see how “Sesame Street” serves as kind of an informal barometer for when a creative has made it.
Case in point: pop artist Keith Haring, whose short, “Babies and Dogs” was featured on an early ’90s episode of the series.
Alright, my premise is a little flawed here: Haring’s career was already in full swing by the time of his death from AIDS-related complications in 1990, and Haring didn’t actually, you know, make the short (it was made by Bill Davis with the permission of the Keith Haring Foundation following the artist’s death).
But it was a flashpoint for Haring’s acceptance outside of the the art world cognoscenti (it was also around this time that his work was being used in ads, and it’s kind of gutsy that “Sesame Street,” of all shows, would embrace work (inspired by) a man who was one of the public faces of being gay and battling AIDS at a time when the country was still squeamish about both.
So here’s to you, Keith (and “Sesame Street”)–stay relevant forever.