1958-1990 | American
U.F.O. and Dolphin
Signed and dated "K. Haring 82" (en verso)
Felt-tip marker on Keith Haring zine cover
One of the most famous and influential artists of the contemporary age, Keith Haring made an indelible mark on the American art scene by bridging the gap between the world of high art and street culture. His graffiti-like creations such as the present work, U.F.O. and Dolphin, reflect the early influence of New York City street culture on the artist. Unique in his oeuvre, the drawing represents his experimentation with creating highly accessible art early in his career, as well as the pop sensibility that makes his works so beloved.
In 1982, Haring produced a small run of his first-ever art “zine,” a countercultural art book that he intended to distribute at the opening of his exhibition at the famed Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York. However, the present example of the zine was mistakenly assembled backwards, leaving the cover blank. When Daniel Durning, its original owner, pointed this out to Haring, Haring spontaneously drew him a new, playful cover featuring a swimming dolphin gazing overhead at a U.F.O. Haring then went on to sign and date the back, in the same pink felt-tip pen; the zine is currently framed so that both the front drawing and back signature are easily viewable.
The U.F.O. was a preferred motif of the artist throughout his career. He began to sketch them in 1980, just two years before this work was created, and they prevailed in his oeuvre for years to follow. Inspired by stories of alien abductions, Haring felt an affinity for the mythical flying saucer and the "otherness" it represented. He once said of his UFO doodles, “Out of these drawings my entire future vocabulary was born... It certainly wasn’t a conscious thing. But after these initial images, everything fell into place.”
After his early successes in the 1980s, Haring went on to develop a significant career, creating artworks both in a formal art world context and out in the streets, effectively raising street art to high art. His decades-long career boasted over 100 exhibitions, as well as many memorable collaborations with other artists such as Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, David Spada and David Bowie. Since his death, Haring has been the subject of countless posthumous touring retrospective museum exhibitions, and his works hang in the permanent collections of major museums around the globe, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Andy Warhol Museum, among many others.
Zine: 5 1/2" high x 4 1/4" wide
Frame: 15 1/8" high x 14 1/8" wide
Daniel Durning, New York (acquired directly from the artist, 1982)