Art Plus – Untitled (Figures with Heart) – 1982 – A painting by Keith Haring

Love’s Forbidden Songs

Loves forbidden songs
Breakers crash against the shore
Summer’s music plays

About the Painting

The radiant heart-love motif would be repeated in many of Haring’s paintings and drawings throughout his career.

This innocent yet apparently controversial image of two men in love is mild in comparison with Haring’s later sexually explicit images. The bravery and boldness of representing homosexual love at this point in time was already a significant statement and a marked achievement in the larger cultural realm.

In this painting, two people are depicted in love, with Haring’s often-used lines of energy emphasizing this euphoric state as much as the kinetic movement of these figures’ bodies in space.

The image distills the artist’s optimistic attitude. Haring was, at heart, in many ways a Romantic, believing in humanity and the power of love.

Visually, the image is classic Haring with its flat, two-dimensional surface, cartoon-like simplicity and the use of vibrant, saturated colours.

Haring often outlined his characters and scenes with thick black lines reminiscent of many earlier modern artists (such as Picasso), as well as from the Pop art movement (Warhol), in addition to Haring’s contemporaries the 1980s New York City graffiti artists.

Haring’s use of vibrant lines in and around his subjects conveys a sense of energetic dynamism, both positive and negative. Some attribute his adoption of this visual sign to the influence of Hip Hop music, where the visual imagery of dark lines was used to represent the impact of sound on listeners.

Haring’s artistic paintings called for radical new cultural possibilities and greatly expanded social understanding of prevailing contemporary social issues of the day.

Painting Attribution © Keith Haring, Untitled (Figures with Heart), 1982

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About the Painting Reference Attribution

Poem Attribution © Goff James, Love’s Forbidden Songs

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Open Box – Art quotation of the day

Keith Haring (1958 -1990) American graphic artist and designer who popularized some of the strategies and impulses of graffiti art.

Haring, with fellow artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, immersed himself in the punk clubs and street art scene of New York.

In 1981 he began drawing graffiti—unauthorized chalk drawings on blank black advertising panels—in the New York subways. These would eventually number in the thousands, and they quickly created a popular following for his lively figural and patterned imagery and his cheekily outlaw activity.

Haring shared few of the “tagging” tactics of urban graffitists, being drawn instead to the possibilities of a new public and vernacular kind of signage.

Haring began making large outdoor murals, eventually executing them in Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Melbourne, Chicago, Atlanta, and elsewhere, often assisted by scores of children.

Haring’s ebullient personality, infectious sense of play, and universally understood hieroglyphic style brought him attention from the mainstream press and transferred easily into his work in music videos and fashion design.

In 1986 Haring opened a store called the Pop Shop in New York City, where he marketed products that ranged from T-shirts and pin-on buttons to original prints. He opened a Tokyo branch of the shop in 1988.

Haring’s imagery has “become a widely recognized visual language”. His later work often addressed political and societal themes—especially homosexuality and AIDS—through his own iconography.

Haring was socially conscious, and his murals often reflected his position on social issues. He sought to raise awareness of AIDS and fought against the proliferation of illegal drugs. He died of complications of AIDS at age 31.

In 2014 Haring was one of the inaugural honourees in the Rainbow Honor Walk, a walk of fame in San Francisco’s Castro neighbourhood noting LGBTQ people who have “made significant contributions in their fields.”

In June 2019, Haring was one of the inaugural fifty American “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes” inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honour within the Stonewall National Monument (SNM) in New York City’s Stonewall Inn.

Bio Reference Attribution &

Photo Attribution © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Keith Haring, (Cropped, Date Unstated)

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Documentary Attribution ©M2M, Discover the King of Street Art: Keith Haring

Video Attribution M2M – Made To Measure

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