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  • Provenance

    Ben Brown Fine Arts, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Keith Haring, 12 Sculptures, 4 June–23 July 1999 (different edition exhibited)

  • Literature

    Keith Haring, 12 Sculptures, exh. cat., Paris: Galerie Jerome De Noirmont, 1999, p. 37 (different edition illustrated)
    Keith Haring Sculptures, Paintings and Work on Paper, Milan, Ben Brown Fine Arts, 2005, pp.42–43 (illustrated in colour)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The appeal of Haring’s sculptures, much like the rest of his art, lies in their powerful immediacy: they are invitations to touch and be touched. In 1988, upon the sculpture’s installation in Riverside Park, Haring would observe the reaction of passers-by to his pieces. According to Haring, “if a work is going to be public it has to harmonize both with the location and with the people who use it” (D. Galloway, Keith Haring: Sculptures, Paintings and Works on Paper, Milan: Skira, 2005, p. 22). This meant, for example, that the sculpture’s edges made in such a way that they would be harmless if the sculpture were to be climbed.

    The theme drawn upon by many of Haring’s sculptures of this period is dance. New York in the 1980s saw the emergence, via various communities such as the Afro-American and Latino diaspora, of new musical genres like rap or electric boogaloo. Dance, which Haring saw as personal expression, was a key inspiration to him – he listened to hiphop while working in his studio and clearly enjoyed dancing himself. His interest in dance extended as well to his collaborations, using body paint, with the singer and model Grace Jones as well as the choreographer and dancer, Bill T. Jones reflect this interest. As a parallel to dance’s attraction to visual artists, one might also think of Alexander Calder’s wiry representations of the celebrated exotic dancer, Josephine Baker.

    Unlike other sculptures by Haring that were inspired by the Afro- Brazilian capoeira or break dancing, Julia seems to be inspired by a more conventional genre, that of classical music. The hoops around the figure can be seen as depicting a ballerina’s tutu and the arms of the figure are counterbalanced in a classically graceful manner. The title refers to Julia Gruen, Haring’s assistant for the final six years of his life and who remains today the executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation.

    The Paradise Garage, the multi-cultural gay nightclub where Haring was a regular, was described by the artist as “one of the biggest influences on my entire life… especially my spiritual level. Dancing there was more than dancing. It was really dancing in a way to reach another state of mind, to transcend being here and getting communally to another place. It was all black and totally modern, totally lights and disco. Still, something else was happening and everyone, everyone knew it” (R. Farris Thompson, ‘Requiem for the Degas of the B-boys’, Artforum, May 1990).

  • Artist Bio

    Keith Haring

    American • 1958 - 1990

    Haring's art and life typified youthful exuberance and fearlessness. While seemingly playful and transparent, Haring dealt with weighty subjects such as death, sex and war, enabling subtle and multiple interpretations. 

    Throughout his tragically brief career, Haring refined a visual language of symbols, which he called icons, the origins of which began with his trademark linear style scrawled in white chalk on the black unused advertising spaces in subway stations. Haring developed and disseminated these icons far and wide, in his vibrant and dynamic style, from public murals and paintings to t-shirts and Swatch watches. His art bridged high and low, erasing the distinctions between rarefied art, political activism and popular culture. 

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painted aluminium
129 x 104 x 79 cm (50 3/4 x 40 7/8 x 31 1/8 in)
Incised with the artist’s signature, numbered and dated ‘K. Haring 1987 3/7’. This work is from an edition of 7 plus 2 artist’s proofs.

£150,000 - 200,000 

sold for £181,250

Contemporary Art Evening

28 June 2012