Galerie Templon, Paris
Estate of Fredrik Roos, Stockholm
Arij Gasiunasen Fine Art, Palm Beach
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Keith Haring's sculpture Untitled illustrates the fluid evolution of his work from street art to fine art. At its inception, Haring's canvas was the urban landscape; "bombing" subway cars and city walls with spraypaint, his art belonged to the streets. Eventually bringing graffiti art into the galleries by trading the cityscape for tarps, found objects and then canvases and editioned sculpture, Haring was the first artist to confer a conventional sense of artistic legitimacy to the graffiti style. His work pioneered the acceptance of street-art into the art historical canon, paving the way for his peers, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Sharf, LA2, Futura 2000, and Fab Five Freddie. While Haring had drawn and painted on found objects before, it wasn't until 1985 that he began fabricating sculptures in the likeness of the dancing babies and barking dogs found in the flat works.
Haring's drawings, paintings and sculptures are imbued with motion. By lifting the figures off the flat surface, this sense of kineticism is given a physicality that immediately reminds us of breakdancing. Haring frequented clubs such as Club 57, the Mudd Club and The Roxy and would have seen breakdancers there, as well as in the streets and parks of the East Village. Jeffery Deitch captured how the music of Haring's environment was manifest in his art: "[Haring] seldom works without music, and not only Haring, but the figures he's painting seem to rock to the beat... Like a master rapper who can rhyme line after line in a never-ending cadence, Haring keeps unfolding his images with a visual syncopation."1 The present work, Untitled, from 1986 exemplifies this illusion. Composed of three stacked figures crouching, reaching and turned on their head, this work embodies palpable movement. Three dancers are connected in motion, rocking to the beat.
1. Jeffrey Deitch, "The Radioactive Child," Keith Haring, Amsterdam: Reproductie Asdeling, Stedelijk Museum, 1986, p. 11.
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