“Art Is For Everybody”: Why Keith Haring and ArtSquare.io own the same values
Keith Haring and ArtSquare.io have one main thing in common: they both believe in democratization of Art
Few artists are as ubiquitous in today’s contemporary culture as Keith Haring. As Miranda Sawyer powerfully and succinctly stated in an article from The Guardian, “Haring is still alive. His art is everywhere”.
Haring’s work stood the test of time not only for its catchy, cartoonish, and playful quality; the artist’s images have become wildly pop(ular) because they were made for the people and about the people. And the art market loves him, too: his paintings now sell for millions of dollars. In his manifesto, Haring wrote:
“The public has a right to art (…) Art is for everybody.”
It seems only fitting that an artist so concerned with the element of accessibility of his art should be at the top of the list of candidates for ArtSquare.io.
We are celebrating the artist by launching the live listing of Digital Art Shares of his 1988 drawing Untitled (keep reading to know more about the artwork👇🏽).
At once political and cheerful, radical and entertaining, deeply personal and outward-facing, Haring’s works spanned a variety of media and techniques, such as drawing, painting, body art, graffiti and sculpture. Haring’s signature style is based on abstract, stylized forms worked into interlocking human figures and tightly arranged patterns.
Haring used few basic colors in hyper-saturated hues, applied as flat areas of paint and shaped into thick silhouettes. He gave his works a distinctively graphic, cartoonish quality and relied on repetitive motifs in creating a visual commentary of both his private experiences and the larger culture of his time. Haring, indeed, sought inspiration for his artistic practice in the popular culture that surrounded him, from New York’s hip-hop scene to Disney’s cartoons, and also engaged with the main social and political issues of his time, such as the AIDS epidemic, South African apartheid, and the American conservative politics of the 1890s.
Like fellow artists Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf, Haring was an active participant in New York’s counterculture and completely immersed himself in the music and dance scene. The element of improvisation, the pulsating rhythm and moves of hip-hop particularly attracted Haring, who transcribed these elements directly into his compositions and figures. Haring surrounds the contours of his figures with thick markings and lightning bolts that emphasize the movement of the dancers and their physical interactions. His figures are engaged in intricate exchanges and gestures, with bent, interlocking limbs shaped into angular patterns that also recall the art of ancient Egypt.
ArtSquare.io is listing a quintessential Haring artwork which features the most prominent traits of the artist’s visual style and political agenda. Untitled (1988) — total value € 30,000, with 30,000 Digital Art Shares available at € 1,00 each — is a marker drawing depicting a pair of cartoon-like, silhouetted human figures stacked on top of each other with their arms raised. Both faceless, the figures are characterized by an “X” drawn on their stomachs; the top one is equipped with bat wings. Patterns of short lines surround these silhouettes, as though they were radiating from the moving bodies. In the lower centre, the artist has left his large signature (“K. Haring”) followed by a stamp-like motif of a gun sight or target and the date (“88”). Marked with an “X”, their arms raised in a “don’t shoot gesture”, Haring’s figures declare themselves as targets — of political, social, racial, systemic violence. The stylized gunsight the artist juxtaposes to his signature reinforces such political statement.
The drawing belongs to the latest stage of Haring’s life and career, which ended in 1990 due to AIDS-related complications. Haring was committed to creating a truly public art until the very end of his life; this makes this small drawing a poignant statement replete with personal and political meanings.
👉🏼 Sign up for free to ArtSquare.io, create a profile and buy fractional shares of Haring’s Untitled (1988) from € 1,00.