A witty and striking comment on art and commercialism, this 1986 screen print Andy Mouse 2 is an important part of Keith Haring’s oeuvre. Signed by both Andy Warhol and Haring, the Andy Mouse series is one of the rarer portfolios in Haring’s catalogue raisonné.
Complete with a pink spiky wig and red glasses, this tribute to Warhol is characteristic of Haring’s playful sense of humour. Here he depicts the father of Pop Art as a Mickey Mouse figure held aloft by a group of his signature dancing figures, all emitting energy lines of joy while Warhol remains inscrutable.
As well as being a tribute to Warhol, the work is also a reference to Haring’s childhood when he would spend hours copying beloved Walt Disney cartoons with his father, which led to him becoming an artist. After a brief spell as a commercial artist in Pittsburgh Haring trained at the School of Visual Art in New York where he learned about the visual language of signs and began making a name for himself on the street where he developed his unique style, in close proximity to graffiti artists and hip hop musicians.
Made in 1986 when Haring was at the height of his career, this work demonstrates his universal appeal, or, as curator David Ross put it, ‘His use of simplified figurative abstract forms and his highly graphic style gave his works an immediate character, the complexity of his puzzlelike constructions pulled the viewer deeply into a unique picture space. Haring’s art radiated energy and he carefully directed that energy beyond the confines of the art world.’