Keith Haring, ‘Totem’, 1985, Phillips

Property Subject to VAT Section 4 (5%; see Conditions of Sale for further information)

"In the late Spring of 1985, I regularly used the subway at 33rd and Park. It's Not a Laptop and Totem were located at this stop. Upon first viewing, I did not attempt to peel them from the surface. Part of me wanted the public to enjoy them; for one day. Returning the following late evening with a mat knife, I was thrilled to find that they were both still there. I quickly cut them from the wall and put them under my coat.

Still bright, fresh and crisp as a potato chip, they are as clean as the moment Keith Haring drew them back in 1985.

It was in the year of 1985 that he would boast in his subway drawings writing: Still Alive In '85."

Acquired directly from the subway by the present owner in 1985.

About Keith Haring

Bridging the gap between the art world and the street, Keith Haring rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his graffiti drawings made in the subways and on the sidewalks of New York City. Combining the appeal of cartoons with the raw energy of Art Brut artists like Jean DuBuffet, Haring developed a distinct pop-graffiti aesthetic centered on fluid, bold outlines against a dense, rhythmic overspread of imagery like that of babies, barking dogs, flying saucers, hearts, and Mickey Mouse. In his subway drawings and murals, Haring explored themes of exploitation, subjugation, drug abuse, and rising fears of nuclear holocaust, which became increasingly apocalyptic after his AIDS diagnosis. Alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and Jenny Holzer, Haring is regarded as a leading figure in New York East Village Art scene in the 1970s and '80s.

American, 1958-1990, Reading, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York

Exhibition Highlights

2015
Gagosian - Jason Ysenburg, 
NY,
Art Basel Miami Beach 2015
2015
Gagosian - Freja Harrell, 
New York,
Miami Basel 2015