Keith Haring is an activist. He is gay and claims the sexual freedom. Like so many other artists, he explores the mystery of life and death. He stages a multitude of faceless characters whose stylized bodies intertwine, destroying their biological identity and depersonalizing their crude activity.
Homophobia is now developing as a social interpretation of the new virus. The art of Keith is a permanent opposition against such assimilation. According to the environmentalist sensitivity of his time, he also protests against the irreversible degradation of the planet.
Keith knows to mix everything for strengthening his messages. Reading his art becomes a game in which the viewer is looking for his monsters and symbols within a dense pattern of drawings on a monochrome background. He retained the Art Brut of Dubuffet and anticipates Combas.
The disease advances too quickly in Keith's body. He wants to shout his message by using his very recognizable style in grandiose works. In 1989 he requires his gallerist to provide him one hundred large size canvases and a secret room where his friends will not disturb him. AIDS leaves him time to paint three canvases that will remain as the only witnesses of his apocalyptic creative burst.
On June 28 in London, Sotheby's sells The Last Rainforest, acrylic and enamel on canvas 182 x 243 cm from the collection of David LaChapelle. The symbols of all the threats and all the hopes are scattered on this image. The Radiant Baby, symbol of the artist himself and of the remains of his hopes, generates other infants who are climbing the trees of life.
This painting is estimated £ 2M, lot 15.
SOLD for £ 4.2M including premium
The tweet below shows a detail.