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Keith Haring
Untitled "Robot Angel"

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Keith Haring Untitled "Robot Angel" Subway Drawing / Chalk on Paper Museum Acid Free Silk Backing, Charcoal Seamless Handmade Wood Frame and Museum Non Glare Plexiglass. Since the very beginning of his career, Keith Haring was always passionate about creating art that was easily accessible to everyone and his New York City subway drawings, murals and street art meant that a much larger and more diverse audience could experience his work, outside of the more insular space of an art gallery. As he traveled the New York City Subway System Keith noticed black matte paper had been used to cover expired adds. He purchased white chalk which he kept in his pocket, and started drawing, this quickly became a daily obsession of his. As the train would enter a station he would look for the black spaces on the subway station walls, exit the train, quickly draw without any planning or any preparation then leave on the next train. As noted by Dr. Amy Raffel: ""His incessant repetition, Haring’s subway drawings allowed him to perfect his highly recognizable reduced linear vocabulary, and to create an inventory of images. Simplification was practical: he needed to complete his drawings as fast as possible to avoid being arrested. He created characters, such as the barking dog and the radiating baby, which he drew on flat planes with no spatial depth, often with only a horizon line or a staircase to suggest space. Drawn close to the surface like cartoons, his images had immediacy and impact, and could carry multiple meanings through various combinations."" Keith is believed to have completed roughly 5,000 chalk subway drawings over a five-year period of time starting in 1980 through 1985.

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About Keith Haring (Artist)

Keith Haring (1958–90) began experimenting with his bold, graphic lines and cartoon-inspired figures on the walls of New York City subway stations in the early 1980s. He called them his “laboratory,” places to develop a radical new aesthetic based on an ideology of creating truly democratic public art.


Haring’s paintings, prints and murals address the universal themes of death, love and sex, as well as contemporary issues he experienced personally, like the crack-cocaine and AIDS epidemics. They derive much of their impact from the powerful contrast between these serious subjects and the joyful, vibrant pictographic language he uses to express them, full of dancing figures, babies, barking dogs, hearts and rhythmic lines, as well as references to pop culture.


To make his art even more accessible, in 1986, Haring opened the Pop Shop in Soho. In a foreshadowing of today’s intermingling of art and fashion, the shop sold merchandise and novelty items featuring imagery by Haring and contemporaries like Kenny Scharf and Basquiat. While his works sometimes included text, for the most part, he chose to communicate through drawing. “Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times,” Haring once declared. “It lives through magic.”

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