Untitled, an important work by artist and social activist Keith Haring will be offered at Bonhams’ Post-War & Contemporary Art sale in New York on May 12. It is estimated at $100,000 – 150,000. Untitled was produced in 1984 during Haring’s visit to Melbourne, Australia, where Haring created his first public work outside of the Americas and Europe, a large-scale mural at Collingwood Technical College. Haring’s 1984 visit to Melbourne greatly impacted the cultural landscape of the city where the mural has become truly iconic. The work was a meditation on the human relationship to the computer and portrays Haring’s fear of the impact that technology would have on art, artists, and society. It is believed that Untitled may have been a thematic study for the mural.
Untitled’s swirling symbols and bursts of orange refer to the sunny Melbourne climate as well as the Aboriginal culture of Australia. The work presents a hybrid – part animal, part human, and part robot – in which Haring conveys the act of thought in the form of a mental burst.
Megan Murphy, Head of Sale of the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department at Bonhams comments on the significance of the work, “Seen in Untitled, Haring truly was the voice of a generation, expressing concern about the human condition and our collective future. His works are all the more relevant today, reminding all of us to hold on tightly to what makes us human.”
It was important to Haring that his work – in his own words – “have some connection to the real world,” and he sought to make his imagery accessible to everyone. Untitled is a quintessential example of Haring’s unique ability to force the viewer to look at images in a new way.