Born in Pennsylvania in 1958, Haring grew up witnessing a United States traumatised by the Vietnam War. In a country beset by inequality and discrimination, Haring matured with an ignited urge to stand against injustice. There was a universal method to this: art. Haring retained an ardent belief in the power of art to vivify and transform at a public level. Whilst at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Haring was first introduced to semiotics – the study of signs and symbols. He then formulated his own artistic alphabet with which he could communicate through painting. Characters and shapes narrate his body of work: barking dogs, radiant babies, pulsing TVs, multi-limbed figures. This new language allowed him to speak to the masses, defying language barriers and uniting communities through his art – Haring had invented a universal system of communication.
X Man incorporates one of the main symbols in Haring’s artistic language: the figure with a cross. For Haring, this figure symbolises the human as a target, a victim of injustice. One could view this specific image as distinctly personal to Haring. In 1988, diagnosed with AIDS, Haring himself became the target of society with their immediate dismissal of the virus.
Sharp, contrasting colours define the present work. The cross on the figure’s stomach is mirrored in the overall composition of the work; four God-like hands emerge from the corners, pinching and pulling at the figure in the centre. Idiosyncratic of Haring’s style, the work is “activated” by sharp strokes around the hands and limbs of the silhouette. "I am intrigued with the shapes people choose as their symbols to create a language. There is within all forms a basic structure, an indication of the entire object with a minimum of lines that becomes a symbol. This is common to all languages, all people, all times" (Keith Haring, unpublished journal entry, The Keith Haring Foundation, 1979, online). Haring’s artistic language is all-encompassing; connecting the origins of language – hieroglyphics – with the origins of art – cave painting. Haring’s contribution to the art historical canon goes without saying. His art still radiates with as much energy as the day it was created.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale