- Keith Haring
- Untitled (September 14, 1986)
- signed, titled and dated Sept. 14 1986 on the reverse
- acrylic and enamel paint on canvas with metal grommets
Deitch Projects, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1999
New York, MoMA PS1, Around 1984: A Look at Art in the Eighties, May - September 2000
Karlsruhe, Museum für Neue Kunst; Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Keith Haring: Heaven and Hell, September 2001 - July 2002, cat. no. 24, pp. 108-109, illustrated in color
Milan, Fondazione Triennale di Milano, The Keith Haring Show, September 2005 - January 2006, pl. 73, p. 230, illustrated in color
Miami, The Sender Collection, Home Alone, November - December 2011
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Keith Haring, The Political Line, April - August 2013, cat. no. 178, pp. 264-265, illustrated in color
Exh. Cat., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Keith Haring, 1997, pp. 200-201, illustrated in color
The present work recalls Haring’s earliest graffiti compositions in its monumental scale and delineation of white motifs against a dark background, yet in its emotional intensity and compositional complexity Untitled (September 14, 1986) has progressed far beyond the artist’s works of the first half of the 1980s, indicating a new aesthetic maturity and creative profundity that signify the work of an artist at the apex of his powers. The importance of Haring’s work had been recognized as early as 1981 when René Ricard published his seminal essay on the New York art scene, significantly entitled "Radiant Child" after Haring’s iconic illustration of the same name, which had adorned an electronic Times Square billboard during the previous year. One of the most celebrated artists working in New York during the 1980s, Haring tapped into the zeitgeist of this vibrant decade: a period in which music and art flourished within a culture of conspicuous consumption, yet which was also overshadowed by the horrors of AIDS and drug abuse.
Arriving in the city in 1978, Haring was immediately drawn to the urban music and graffiti scene, working alongside other artists who were also to become legends of their time, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf. Haring first gained renown by leaving his often ephemeral yet powerful mark on the walls and advertising boards of the city’s labyrinthine subway system. The artist recalled the impact that Basquiat’s early graffiti – completed under the moniker of ‘SAMO’ – had on his own work: “There was this art out on the streets. Before I knew who he was, I became obsessed with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work… The stuff I saw on the walls was more poetry than graffiti… On the surface they seemed really simple, but the minute I saw them I knew they were more than that. From the beginning he was my favorite artist.” (the artist in conversation with David Sheff in "Keith Haring, An Intimate Conversation," Rolling Stone, August 1989, n.p.) Music and the urban culture surrounding it proved to be another major source of inspiration for the artist: “All kinds of new things were starting. In music, it was the punk and New Wave scenes… And there was the club scene – the Mudd Club and Club 57, at St. Mark’s Place, in the basement of a Polish church, which became our hangout, a clubhouse, where we could do whatever we wanted.” (the artist cited in Ibid.) The extraordinary sensation of movement that pervades Untitled (September 14, 1986) and other large scale examples of Haring’s work can be connected to the artist’s understanding and love of this alternative and highly original music scene at the time.
In its astonishingly assured compositional structure and astounding level of detail, Untitled (September 14, 1986) deserves to be considered as a work of immense significance within Haring’s oeuvre, embodying the dizzying energy and sense of possibility that existed within the New York cultural scene for a brief but heady period during the 1980s. Ultimately, Untitled (September 14, 1986) superbly encapsulates the sensation that Haring declared he was striving for within his art when he stated, “When I paint, it is an experience that, at its best, is transcending reality.” (the artist cited in Ibid.) In its creation of a powerfully distinctive dreamscape, Untitled (September 14, 1986) not only ‘transcends’ reality, but exceeds it as well.