Haring's Pop Shop and Warhol's Factory lead Heritage's April 18 Prints & Multiples Event

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Haring's Pop Shop and Warhol's Factory lead Heritage's April 18 Prints & Multiples Event
Keith Haring (1958-1990), Pop Shop III, set of 4, 1989. Lithographs in colors on wove paper, 13 x 16 inches. Estimate: $50,000 - $70,000.

DALLAS, TX.- "...only people who could afford big art prices could have access to the work. The Pop Shop makes it accessible... it is totally in keeping ideologically with what Andy was doing. It was about participation on a big level."

-Keith Haring

There are places and eras that changed the trajectory of modern culture, and New York City has produced some cycles that are hard to top. It's difficult to describe just how different downtown Manhattan looked and felt in the 1980s compared to the last couple of decades. Movies and documentaries shot on location back then can give you a taste of it, with cult fave Downtown 81 – which tracks then-burgeoning artist Jean-Michel Basquiat through some scrappy days – being a solid reference point, given that the film chronicles and acts as a harbinger of how explosively creative ‘80s NYC was. Much of Manhattan south of Houston Street looked like bombed-out war zones (on film and in person), but the people making moves there – the artists and gallerists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and more— drastically changed how culture was produced and consumed from that point forward.

A handful of names stand out as the visionaries who sprung from this camp, and Keith Haring was certainly near the top of that list. Four years before his death at age 31 from complications due to AIDS, he solidified his legacy and his ethos by opening a downtown store dedicated to selling his editioned works to the public. In 1986, the Pop Shop opened at 292 Lafayette Street in SoHo, and it immediately shifted the artworld's view of how artists' multiples could redefine collectors' and fans' appetites and the market in general. It was a small space (every inch of it covered in Haring's distinctive linework) with a massive impact. The Pop Shop exemplified Haring's altruism and grace in a way that defined and defied the era's post-punk attitude. Haring kicked off his career with simple subway drawings – hyper-local art for all – but when his work hit the galleries and was stolen off subway and city walls, he knew it had gotten too precious for his own taste. Haring was so ahead of his time – in spirit, art, and action – that when he opened the Pop Shop, he single-handedly and practically overnight dragged us all into the future.

"Here's the philosophy behind the Pop Shop," Haring explained. "I wanted to continue this same sort of communication as with the subway drawings. I wanted to attract the same wide range of people, and I wanted it to be a place where, yes, not only collectors could come, but also kids from the Bronx. The main point was that we didn't want to produce things that would cheapen the art. In other words, this was still an art statement."

There's no question of how and why Haring's work – witty, muscular, emotive – is still some of the most beloved and recognizable today. In his short life, he was practically the Platonic ideal of the contemporary artist: trailblazing, porous, defiant, inclusive, prolific, and ever in touch with his original audience. On April 18, in its Prints & Multiples Signature® Auction, Heritage offers a complete set of limited-edition Pop Shop lithographs Haring produced in 1989, titled Pop Shop III. It is the third set of four he created for the shop that year. The work is Haring at his sharpest and most prophetic: The four panels tell a loose and rangy (and comic) tale of humans struggling to control their machine. A giant pair of scissors cuts the cord to a giant, all-important computer. People fret. A person gets sucked up into the machine in an attempt to fix it, while another helps, and panics. Does this sound like 2023? Exceptional artists have exceptional antennae. Thirty-four years ago Haring predicted our fraught relationship with our digital revolution. He knew where we were headed in more ways than one. "We love this rare work by the great Keith Haring," says Rebecca Van Norman, Heritage's Director of Prints & Multiples. "And we're pleased because it's but one highlight of a Heritage event that's particularly well-rounded. We present Pop Art to Abstraction, Post-War to Contemporary, and at varying price points. It's a meaningful walk through the recent history of great artists' editioned works."

One of the most important figures in Haring's life was, of course, Andy Warhol who supported the younger artist starting in the early ‘80s, when he showed alongside Haring at documenta 7 in Kassel, and as Haring had successful solo shows at Tony Shafrazi Gallery and Fun Gallery in New York. Haring understood Warhol as his conceptual progenitor, and this Heritage event boasts some significant Warhols. Four of the available works are his early Campbell's soup cans (1968-69) – his iconic screenprints that include Tomato, Onion, Pepper Pot, and Hot Dog Bean. They are signed by Warhol in black ballpoint pen with a rubber stamp number, and published by Factory Additions, New York. Other standout Warhols on offer include two of his Marilyns from 1967; this image (taken from a publicity photograph from the film Niagara) is one of Warhol's most indelible, and this early edition is especially seductive to seasoned and new collectors. Warhol's Mick Jagger portrait from 1975, a Jackie O from '68, and an electric chair from 1971 are amongst the other early-career Warhol works that top this auction.

The image that graces the cover of Heritage's catalog for this event is a work by Joan Mitchell. This diptych from the Sunflowers series, to be offered on April 18, was the last that Joan Mitchell printed before her death in 1992. "The series is highly representational of Mitchell's body of work," says Van Norman. "It is energetic, rageful, graceful, and always articulate. Sunflowers I features related images juxtaposed to form a diptych and demonstrates two polarities of Mitchell's style. The downpouring of angry energy into the crayon strokes becomes the subject, which is darker than one might associate with the bright and vibrant sunflower." Another pioneering woman artist featured in this auction who's had a long and fascinating relationship with printmaking is Vija Celmins. She toils for months or even years on a single print, intricately working and reworking its surface. "She has been drawn to lithography and working with stone because of how labor intensive it is," says Van Norman. Celmins' Untitled (Desert) from 1971 is one of the artist's early works before she took a long break from printmaking. Van Norman continues: "When Celmins spoke about this work in October 2022 after receiving the Jordan Schnitzer Award for Excellence in Printmaking, she said, ‘I started going out into the desert, and [as a European] this was a great experience for me. You can look so close and so very far. The work projects really far, and when you come up to it you begin to see other aspects of it. The distance invites you in. You begin to identify with the surface.'" Another hallmark of this event is significant works that have not come to auction in a long time. Marc Chagall lithographs from the 1960s and ‘70s are on offer, including some of the highly sought-after works he developed with master printmaker Charles Sorlier. The large and vivid Magic Flute from 1967 is especially rare and valuable. Another rare-to-auction work is within this selection of lithographs and etchings by Joan Miro: Lithographie pour le centenaire de L'Imprimerie Mourlot from 1953 is iconic for the artist, with all of the elements we love and look for in Miro's work (and abstraction in general). Miro's signature airborne vessels and spikey creatures float in a skyscape punctuated by the orange globe that anchors the composition.

South African artist William Kentridge's currency keeps rising as he reaches his career prime and embarks on a multi-front campus-wide residency at UC Berkeley in 2023. Heritage is offering an unusual and charismatic Kentridge aquatint and drypoint from 2010 titled Scribble Cat; it's created on six sheets of paper then assembled to complete the scruffy and smiling feline who reflects the distinctive and robust mark-making we associate with the multi-disciplinary artist. Images and information about this work and all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/8120. Highlights from this auction will be available by appointment for preview April 6-11 at Heritage's New York location.

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