Keith Haring: Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks

Keith Haring (Artist)


Haring's humorous drawings envision New York as the city of the phallus

Synonymous with the 1980s downtown New York art scene and embraced by popular culture for his peppy line drawings of dancing figures, Keith Haring (1958-90) blended a cheery optimism and an active sense of humor with a populist, activist commitment in his work. Arriving in New York in 1978 to study at the School of Visual Arts, he experimented with performance, video, installation and collage, and found himself increasingly involved in an alternative art community that showed its work in the streets and nightclubs; Haring himself would find a uniquely effective platform for his drawings in the unused advertising panels scattered throughout the subway system.

Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks collects one singular series of Haring's drawings: a series of cartoonish penises inspired by the city of Manhattan, made in the late 1970s. Sometimes the inspiration is quite literal, as in a drawing of the Twin Towers reimagined as two erect penises. Other times, the relation is more atmospheric, as in the drawing of a frenzied mass of penises evoking the hustle and bustle of the city but also recalling the dynamism of Futurist painting, captioned "Drawing penises in front of The Museum of Modern Art."

Product Details

$29.95  $27.55
Publish Date
July 26, 2016
5.6 X 0.6 X 7.8 inches | 0.6 pounds
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It may seem unusual to uphold a book of penis drawings as a significant art-historical moment, but Manhatten Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks creates an unignorable link between Haring's early work and his homosexuality. The drawings are lightheartedly homosexual in a way not possible since the discovery of "gay-related immune deficiency" (GRID) in 1982. In light of the forceful politics of Haring's later work, his penis drawings are, in a sense, the least complicated of his phallocentric art. They have no social message to impart, no silent president to shock into action. Keith Haring just really liked penises.--John Sherman "Hyperallergic "
The Twin Towers become twin penises. There are penises drawn in front of Tiffany's, in front of the Museum of Modern Art, while 'waiting for a yam.' There are minimalist penises, composed of as few lines as possible. There are also Gucci penises, alphabet penises, flying torpedo penises, optical illusion penises, deconstructed penises, 'actual size' tracings of penises, and clusters of penises on the subway at rush hour.--Dan Piepenbring "The Paris Review "