Art Basel Special: Keith Haring on The Art Market

by Christopher Schreck on November 29, 2011 · 1 comment Rise Up

Keith Haring, "Andy Mouse"

Keith Haring hated The Man but loved his fellow artists. From the Keith Haring Journals:

Haring on the art market:

I can't believe that some people are so shallow as to worry about whether one person, like Saatchi, collects me or not. How can one person be an important determiner of what is good or not? In fact, if someone is trying to use their power or collecting to impose their taste and standardize the taste of the entire culture, then I think they are the most suspicious suspects of all. It's all banking and investment bullshit at that level. Saatchi might as well be a bank.

The art market is one of the most dangerous, parasitic, corrupt organizations in the world, next to the Roman Catholic church or the justice system in the United States. How naïve of me to even think that art was an island of 'purity' in this vast chaos of business…”

— October 2, 1987

On art as lineage:

“I am not a beginning. I am not an end. I am a link in a chain. The strength of which depends on my own contributions, as well as the contributions of those before and after me. I hope I am not vain in thinking that I may be exploring possibilities that artists like Stuart Davis, Jackson Pollock, Jean Dubuffet and Pierre Alechinsky have initiated but did not resolve. Their ideas are living ideas. They cannot be resolved, only explored deeper and deeper. I find comfort in the knowledge that they were on a similar search. In some sense I am not alone. I feel it when I see their work. Their ideas live on and increase in power as they are explored and rediscovered. I am not alone, as they were not alone, as no artist of the brotherhood ever was or ever will be alone. When I am aware of this unity, and refuse to let my self-doubt interfere, it is one of the most wonderful feelings I've ever experienced. I am a necessary part of an important search to which there is no end.”  – November 7, 1978

  • Oscar Masinyana

    The ‘On Art as Lineage’ entry is so beautiful; thank you for sharing such inspiring words from Haring. Are his notebooks/diaries published by any chance? Anyway, thank you very much. I was so moved by this line in particular: “I am not alone, as they were not alone, as no artist of the brotherhood ever was or ever will be alone.” It goes so counter to the usual artist-as-misunderstood-loner-with-no-one-to-comfort-him-so-he-best-destroy-himself-blah-blah-blah. But the idea of keeping company with artistic ancestors (and in turn becoming one) is just so wonderfully put. PS: Indeed, Saatchi might as well be a bank.

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