Untitled #4

Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation

Keith Haring
Untitled #4
152.0 x 152.0 cm
oil on canvas

Keith Haring is one of the representative artists of America who gained immense popularity and acknowledgement through graffiti art in the 1980s.

Graffiti, also known as street art, began in the late 1960s with spray paint and felt-tip pen doodles in public places such as subways and city walls of New York. Drawing without the owner's permission is a criminal act. If found by the police, there is a significant risk of being charged with property destruction and being arrested. Since it is a criminal act, it is necessary to draw swiftly without being noticed by the police. Also, if the drawing is deemed lame, it will be erased and overwritten by other graffiti artists, so it must be cool, striking, and strong.

It was a form of street fight through artworks (images and text), just like breakdance battles that were popular worldwide in the 1980s, which took place daily on the streets of New York. In this work, Herring drew the street scenes of New York from the 1980s as a person who featured LGBTQ and issues surrounding AIDs throughout his life and created works with simple human-shaped designs with a strong message against discrimination social issues.

(Commentary: Masashi Shiobara / Translation: Emma Tsuji Harrison)