Keith Haring and Juan Dubose
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© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Andy Warhol
American, 1983
Polaroid Polacolor
3 3/4 x 2 7/8 in.

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The early 1980s saw the emergence of artists, including Keith Haring, whose work originated in or was inspired by graffiti, the stylized words and pictures that rebellious adolescents were spray-painting on walls and other public surfaces in urban America. Andy Warhol made Haring's acquaintance in 1982.

Haring attributed his simple graphic style, which Warhol praised as "cartoonist," to the hallucinatory power of drugs. Warhol made his Polaroids of Haring, seen here on the left, and his partner Juan Dubose, in preparation for several forty by forty-inch painted portraits, one executed in black and white. The camera's flash and studio lighting created strong shadows that haunt the figures. Warhol helped his young friends deal with problems caused by their early success, but portraits such as this--heavy with memorial overtones--suggest that he was also prescient about their early deaths.