Keith Haring: 31 Subway Drawings
Jeffrey Deitch, Henry Geldzahler, Keith Haring, Carlo McCormick, and Larry Warsh
Princeton University Press, 2021
Celebrated artist Keith Haring (1958–1990) has been embraced by popular culture for his signature bold graphic line drawings of figures and forms. Like other graffiti artists in the 1980s, Haring found an empty canvas in the advertising panels scattered throughout New York City’s subway system, where he communicated his socially conscious, often humorous messages on platforms and train cars.
Over a five-year period, in an epic conquest of civic space, Haring produced a massive body of subway artwork that remains daunting in its scale and its impact on the public consciousness. Dedicated to the individuals who might encounter them and to the moments of their creation, Haring’s drawings now exist solely in the form of documentary photographs and legend. Because they were not meant to be permanent—only briefly inhabiting blacked-out advertising boards before being covered up by ads or torn down by authorities or admirers—what little remains of this project is uniquely fugitive. Keith Haring: 31 Subway Drawings reproduces archival materials relating to this magnificent project alongside essays by leading Haring experts.