This signed screen print in colour on woven paper is a limited edition of 90 from Keith Haring’s Apocalypse series (1988). The final print in the series, Apocalypse 10, is more hopeful in tone, featuring a collaged image of Christ as the head of a flower, growing upwards in the centre of the print. Dark imagery that permeates the series is still looming in this print, however the radiating image of Christ offers a beacon of light amidst the darkness.
In his Flowers series (1990), Haring uses flower-like subjects to allude to the fragility of life and closeness to death for those living during the AIDS epidemic. Completed the year of Haring’s own AIDS diagnosis and a couple of years before the Flowers series, Apocalypse 10 is an early conceptualisation of this powerful flower symbol. Haring makes clear the paradoxical theme of life and death with a horizontal stem that shows a skeleton hand on one side and an organic life form about to be plucked on the other.
Tear drops drawn by Haring, reflected in the drips of ink on the print, fall from Christ’s eyes as he overlooks the tumbling pile of anonymous dead bodies below. The image of Jesus weeping is a common Christian symbol to show Christ’s humanity, representing the rage felt against the tyranny of death over mankind. As with the rest of the Apocalypse series, Haring reworks common religious iconography to create a cynical, pictographic social commentary, that is especially pertinent in the context of the 1980s AIDS epidemic in New York City.