Keith Haring, Untitled, 1981. Vinyl ink on vinyl tarpaulin, 73 3/16 × 71 7/8 in. (185.9 × 182.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the Lannan Foundation 97.89.2
© Keith Haring Foundation
As a child, Keith Haring liked to draw cartoon characters and make up secret codes and picture signs. When he moved to New York City in 1978, Haring started doing graffiti
and developed his own style, using white chalk to draw pictures on the black paper that was posted over advertisements in the subway. Haring made this painting on a plastic material called a tarpaulin
(“tarp” for short). The painting consists of many bold, black brushstrokes. The blue background
is not painted, it is the color of the tarp. Among the lines and shapes, there are three figures. Two of them may have just clapped their hands. At the bottom of the painting, a third figure is hiding his or her eyes. The marks and lines around the figures may represent their energy and power.