Keith Haring's work appeals
to us on several levels. First, of course, is the goofy cheerfulness that strikes
immediately and, through repetition, becomes a leitmotif that sees us through
our days - a tuneful celebration of urban commonality. When we spot the Radiant
Baby or Barking Dog, we not only have seen them before and know we will see them
again, soon we also know that tens of thousands of our fellows will see them as
Keith Haring has developed
his own language, which speaks to us with immediacy in a deeply preverbal sense.
Each term in this language can be read as subject, verb, or object: the Dog Barks
the Spacecraft or the Spacecraft Zaps the Praying Man. In much the same way as
Chinese or Egyptian languages are written pictographically, Keith Haring's world
is made up of symbols that speak urgently to us, both alone and in interchangeable
configurations. And as the pictographs or hieroglyphs communicate visually, soundlessly,
so too are Haring's symbols swathed in silence. An eerie quietude surrounds all
his work, heightening and animating the dramas they depict.
-- from the Intoduction
to Art in Transit
by Henry Geldzahler
| Complete essay.
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