38 x 38"
Edition of 90
Apocalypse 1 by Keith Haring
Always politically conscious, Haring used his fame and talent to heighten awareness of AIDS, apartheid and the crack cocaine epidemic, and became involved with several children’s charities. In 1988, shortly after he was diagnosed with AIDS, he collaborated with the Beat writer William Burroughs to create the Apocalypse portfolio. Haring’s provocative imagery and Burroughs’s stream-of-consciousness poetry create a vision of the HIV virus as a harbinger of the end of the world. He died in 1990.
Apocalypse 1 by Keith Haring
When the late renowned artist Keith Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, he collaborated with author William S. Burroughs on this Apocalypse series, which offers an insight into Haring’s personal struggle with the disease. He died in 1990.
Last act, the End, this is where we all came in. The final Apocalypse is when every man sees what he sees, feels what he feels, and hears what he hears. The creatures of all your dreams and nightmares are right here, right now, solid as they ever were or ever will be, electric vitality of careening subways faster faster faster stations flash by in a blur.
Pan God of Panic, whips screaming crowds, as millions of faces look up at the torn sky:
OFF THE TRACK! OFF THE TRACK!
About the Artist
Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist responding to New York City’s street culture of the 1980s. His work is about birth, death, sex, and war – very fitting for the period in which he lived and worked. Keith Haring was openly gay at a time when most non-heterosexuals kept their sexual proclivities behind closed doors. Part of Haring’s importance as an artist was how his art raised awareness of AIDS. Many of his works were featured in the Red Hot Organization’s efforts to raise money for AIDS research and AIDS awareness. Keith Haring himself died of AIDS in 1990 at age 32.
Keith Haring was born and grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania with his parents and three younger sisters. His father, Allen Haring, was a cartoonist who may have been an inspiration for him to pursue his artistic talents and certainly influenced his son’s work.
The artist’s first work that garnered attention was his public art painted in the New York City subways. These renderings were more akin to Pop art than Street Art. Perhaps they could best be described as Pop Art on the street. It was at this time that his work “The Radiant Baby” became symbolic of the artist. This image, with its bold lines, vivid colors, and dynamic pose, expresses profound messages of life and unity.n 1980, Haring organized shows in New York City’s Club 57 and for the first time started drawing animals and human faces. He also pasted provocative collages around the city made from cut up and reassembled headlines from the New York Post.
In 1982, having become a well-known activist-artist, he formed friendships with the likes of Madonna, Kenny Scharf, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Between 1982 and 1989 he had over 50 public works in many countries around the world. In 1986, he created his famous mural, “Crack is Wack,” on a handball court in East Harlem. In the same year, he met Andy Warhol who became the theme of many works including Andy Mouse. These relationships, particularly with Andy Warhol, proved to be a strong factor in his future success.
Keith Haring opened up a retail store in SOHO called Pop Shop and his themes became more socio-political including anti-apartheid, AIDS awareness, and the crack cocaine epidemic. This work sometimes featured influences of commercial brands such as Absolut vodka, Lucky Strike cigarettes, and Coca-Cola strengthening the activist theme of a particular work and decidedly moving him back into the genre of Pop Art.
Keith Haring died of complications from AIDS on February 16, 1990. He lived a short, full life. His life as an activist and artist was very much a part of the time in which he lived. He will continue to live on through his prolific public art and drawings, as well as his generous Foundation.
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