Keith Haring - New Now London Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist)
    Phillips, New York, 19 September 2013, lot 56
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    The early ‘80s were highly prolific years for Keith Haring as the artist teamed up with some of the leading figures of the New York art and social scene. Amongst these, the award-winning choreographer and provocative dancer Bill T. Jones who rose to prominence when he founded the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company with his long-term partner Arnie Zane. Keith and Bill crossed each other’s paths in London in 1983, at a time when the graffiti artist was opening a major show at the Robert Fraser Gallery, and together they produced a series of exceptional collaborations in both performance and drawing. Explaining the artistic connection that Jones felt with Haring, he affirmed “Arnie Zane and I were also very interested in getting out of the avant-garde ghetto. Haring had found a way by going into another ghetto... I really loved the fact that he was a tag artist, and that he could go in and out of that milieu. And I saw at least a feeling, if not exactly a one-to-one corollary, between what Arnie and I were trying to do and our critique of high and low, and Keith's modus operandi, which very much moved from the art gallery to the streets” (Alanna Martinez, Full Frontal Art: A Q&A With Choreographer Bill T. Jones About Working With Keith Haring, May 2009, BlouinArtInfo, online resource).

    For this series Haring borrowed Jones’ body - from head to toe - as the canvas to his work. At the end of a process lasting over fours hours the choreographer found himself all covered in white acrylic paint with the characteristic bold pictograms wich represent Haring’s own artistic signature. Next, Tseng Kwong Chi photographed Jones performing freely and spontaneously in the studio and the collaboration between the three artists resulted in the production of black and white photographs which are nothing less than pure artistic magic. Herein, to further imprint his own seal, Haring expanded the black graffiti-like pattern to the white background so that Jones’ sinuous body becomes hardly discernible.

  • Artist Biography

    Keith Haring

    American • 1958 - 1990

    Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Keith Haring moved to New York City in 1978 at the age of 20 to study at the School of Visual Arts. By the early 1980s, Haring rose to prominence for his graffiti drawings made in the New York subways and streets. Alongside his friends Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, who he met at the SVA, Haring became a leading figure of the East Village art scene through the 1970s and 1980s.

    Best known for his cartoon-like imagery developed through bold lines and vibrant colors, Haring refined a visual language of symbols that simplified forms to their most essential elements. Exploring the themes of birth and death, sex and war, social inequality, and love, his art bridged the high and low, erasing the distinctions between rarefied art, political activism, and popular culture. Despite his tragically brief career, Haring created a universal visual language embraced throughout the world, and his works are housed in many major collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, and Nakamura Keith Haring Collection in Hokuto, Japan.

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Untitled (Bill T. Jones)

Signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'K. Haring Photo: Tseng Kwong Chi, Model: Bill T. Jones Keith Haring 1984 April 24' on the reverse
ink on photographic paper
50.5 x 40 cm (19 7/8 x 15 3/4 in.)
Executed on a photograph by Tseng Kwong Chi in 1984.

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £37,500

Contact Specialist
Simon Tovey
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 8 December 2016