In 1986, Haring opened the flagship location of his Pop Shop in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, with the storefront at 292 Lafayette Street. Taking Warhol’s concept of the factory one step further, Haring saw the Pop Shop as a logical next step from his subway drawings—it was rooted in his desire to make art for a wide range of people, not just collectors and gallery goers.

 

 

“I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price. My shop is an extension of what I was doing in the subway stations, breaking down the barriers between high and low art.”

 

Aimed at kids and collectors alike, the Pop Shops were a place where Haring could sell his art for as little as 50 cents. The store stocked t-shirts, badges and magnets featuring his now ubiquitous designs. While the project was praised by friends such as Andy Warhol, who was fascinated by the possibilities of the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, it was snubbed by many leading art world figures who placed more value on original works of art.

 

 

In response to criticism and being called a sell out, Haring explained, “The Pop Shop sort of grew naturally out of what the work was becoming anyway. The images had become part of the world and part of a universal culture. I had to go with that idea and let it happen, let it become part of the culture, let it become part of the mass culture instead of taking it back into the art world and hiding in the art world, which is where I was trying to break out of in the first place.” For Haring, the Pop Shop was itself an art statement, making his work easily accessible to communities throughout New York. It was met with large success, and in 1988 a second location of the Pop Shop opened in Tokyo.

 

TSENG KWONG CHI (1950-1990)
Keith Haring at the Pop Shop, c. 1985
Chromogenic print, printed later

While the project was praised by friends such as Andy Warhol who was fascinated by the possibilities of the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, it was snubbed by many leading art world figures who placed more value on original works of art.

Having grown up with comics and cartoons, his was an iconography of reproduction. His love for commercial and Pop art was evident in his first experiments with street art which saw him creating signature figures he named ‘icons’, such as the barking dog, the radiant child and the winged superman. He would reproduce these figures over and over again, in bright colors reminiscent of advertising and later, just before his death from AIDS in 1990, in plain white embossings.

TSENG KWONG CHI (1950-1990)
Keith Haring at the Pop Shop, c. 1985
Chromogenic print, printed later

In every way, the Pop Shop was an extension of Haring’s work: he even painted the entire interior of the store with a black and white mural. Through the merchandise sold at his Pop Shop, Haring’s visual vocabulary was even further integrated into the fabric of the city. Posters were sold for a dollar, buttons for 50 cents. Tshirts, sweatshirts, skateboards, and more displaying Haring’s lexicon—images that were essentially established in the twelve drawings comprising the present sale—were available to fans of his work at a low cost, ultimately breaking down the barrier that blocked access to the sphere of an elitist art world. Profits were distributed to children’s charities and educational organizations as well as AIDS research, areas of commitment for Haring that were also incorporated in the mission of the Keith Haring Foundation, established by the artist in 1989, one year before his death in 1990 due to AIDS-related complications.

TSENG KWONG CHI (1950-1990)
Keith Haring at the Pop Shop, c. 1985
Chromogenic print, printed later

 

 

 

 

 

The Pop Shop Prints


The Pop Shop prints bring together some of the artist’s most recognizable motifs, rendered in his classic simplified and linear style filled with bright, block colors. In 1986, Haring opened the Pop Shop in downtown Manhattan, seeing the boutique primarily as an extension of his work where his art could be accessible to everyone. The Pop Shop series represents some of the works created over those years when the Shop was thriving between 1987 and 1990.

Typical of Haring’s street art style, developed in the early 1980s in the blank advertisement spaces in New York’s subway, these prints are created using thick, black outlines and highly simplified form. These early experiments resulted in a style and iconography for which Haring would become world famous, his barking dog, radiant child and winged angel and devil-like figures instantly recognizable for their originality and playfulness. He would reproduce these figures over and over again, in bright colors reminiscent of advertising, and later, just before his death from AIDS in 1990, in plain white embossings.

Between 1987 and 1989, Keith Haring released 6 portfolios of Pop Shop prints. Each portfolio comprises four screen-prints, made in editions of 200 as individual works (800 prints per portfolio). Keith Haring also released corresponding Pop Shop Quads, reuniting all four images within one single print, released in an edition of 75.

Pop Shop I, 1987

Pop Shop II, 1988

Pop Shop IV, 1989

Pop Shop VI, 1989

 

 

 

 

The Pop Shop Drawings


The present suite of twelve drawings—shown together for the first time since their creation in 1985—encapsulate Haring as a groundbreaking artist of his time, and an artist whose legacy continues to grow and impact the world more than twenty years after his death. Each drawing a career-defining masterpiece, these compositions were integral to Haring’s unconventional yet highly successful Pop Shop which opened in 1986. These drawings mark the inspiration for the set of silkscreen prints bearing the same imagery, and were also the iconic, underlying images which were then realized upon merchandise sold in his store.

 

Untitled (Pop Shop Drawing), 1985
Ink on paper
11×14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm)
Signed and dated SEPT. 4 – 85 on the reverse

Untitled (Pop Shop Drawing), 1985
Ink on paper
11×14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm)
Signed and dated SEPT. 4 – 85 on the reverse

 

Untitled (Pop Shop Drawing)

signed and dated SEPT. 4 – 85 on the reverse

ink on paper

11 by 14 in. 27.9 by 35.6 cm.