KEITH HARING "ART ATTACK ON AIDS" SCREENPRINT, 1988
Keith Haring (1958–1990) is one of the most celebrated and widely recognized (graffiti) artists of all time. His iconic imagery emerged on the subway walls of New York City in the early 1980s, breaking the barrier between high art and street art almost overnight. Haring’s art was accessible to the masses, both physically and visually, without pretense or irony and full of optimism.
Haring’s distinctive, cartoon-like figures are a defining motif throughout his oeuvre. Thick, confident lines and simple stylized forms create a visual language that is instantly recognizable and accessible to all levels of viewership. Often combined with hypnotic and vibrating hues, Haring's aesthetic evokes a sense of light-heartedness, even when dealing with serious subject matter (such as AIDS or drug addiction)
As Haring established himself in the art world, elements of advocacy increased throughout his practice, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS awareness. A testimony to his activism, this screenprint was created for the Art Attack On AIDS Benefit to raise funds for the Wellness Network.
The dynamic composition features two figures inextricably interlocked amidst a physical altercation or exchange. Curiously, their clenched fists pierce through each other, inflicting mirroring wounds on their heads and torsos. The big, blank holes left on their bodies echo the ferocity of the disease while illustrating the vulnerability, grief, and despair of those impacted.
"Art Attack on AIDS" serves as a poignant example of Haring's fierce dedication to raising awareness and destigmatizing HIV/AIDS at a time when it was almost radical or unheard of to do so.
It is still shocking and heartbreaking that the artist succumbed to the disease at the age of 31. Haring's legacy lives on through his foundation, the Keith Haring Foundation, which he founded a year before his death. His work is celebrated in permanent collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Ludwig Museum (Cologne) to name a few.
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"Art Attack on AIDS"
Screenprint on oak veneer plywood
Signed, dated, and numbered by artist
Inscribed with the note "For Anthony"
From an edition of 10 artist proofs
30”H 30”W 2”D (work)
31.5"H 31.5"W 2"D (framed)
Very good condition.
Provenance: Gallery Moos, Toronto
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