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Keith Haring

Untitled (Subway Drawing)

  • Year1981
  • MaterialChalk on paper, original subway frame made of glass fiber reinforced plastic
  • Dimensions125 x 173 cm
  • Year of acquisition2019
  • Inventory numberUAB 1217
  • On viewGround floor 0.5

More about the artwork

Keith Haring came to New York in 1978 on a scholarship from the School of Visual Arts. Inspired by the graffiti scattered throughout the city, he developed his own calligraphic drawing style. His main motifs, always drawn in one go and always as a mere outline, are genderless figures, crawling babies—for him the “purest and most positive experience of human life”—and strange animal creatures. Although his figures seem carefree, Haring always addressed existential political and social issues, such as the fight for equal rights, irrespective of origin, skin color, or sexual orientation. During a subway ride, Haring noticed a blank advertising space covered in black paper, the ideal spot for his drawings. Three of the many thousand drawings left as artworks in public space are part of the Brandhorst Collection. One of these three “Subway Drawings” even features the poster originally glued next to it: an advertising billboard for a 3D film fittingly entitled “The Man Who Wasn't There.” It seems unlikely that such drawings would survive, but as Haring has stated: “because they were so fragile, people left them alone and respected them; they didn’t rub them out or try to mess them up. It gave them this other power. It was this chalk-white fragile thing in the middle of all this power and tension and violence that the subway was.”

Further collection artworks

David LaChapelle Recollections in America, IV: Party, Snacks, Rifle, 2006UAB 634 4 I 13
David LaChapelle Recollections in America, IV: Party, Snacks, Riffle, 2006
Richard Avedon 1923–2004Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey, director; Taylor Mead, actor; Birgid Polk, actress; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Andy Warhol, artist, New York, October 9, 1969, 1993UAB 816
Richard Avedon Richard Avedon 1923–2004 Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey, director; Taylor Mead, actor; Birgid Polk, actress; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Andy Warhol, artist, New York, October 9, 1969, 1993
Andy Warhol Camouflage, 1986UAB 595
Andy Warhol Camouflage, 1986
Gerhard Richter Familie nach Altem Meister, 1965UAB 363
Gerhard Richter Familie nach altem Meister, 1965
Cy Twombly Untitled (Greetings from Gorgo), 1965UAB 490
Cy Twombly Untitled (Greetings from Gorgo), 1965
Andy Warhol Pat Hearn, 1985UAB 585
Andy Warhol Pat Hearn, 1985