This signed screen print in colours, on museum board from 1988 is a limited edition of 90 from Keith Haring’s Apocalypse series. Apocalypse 7 provides us with a glimpse of Hell as Haring uses the religious imagery of the final judgement scene, splatters of colour, and dark gestural marks to depict the scene’s devastating chaos.
The scene shows an oversized, flesh coloured sperm with devil horns, hovering over the apocalyptic landscape. As the series progresses, the presence of the demonic sperm becomes more menacing and its threatening nature comes to the fore in this print.
In Apocalypse 7 a television monitor shows a volcano erupting, about to devastate the city below. Living through a time of technological acceleration, Haring saw the “machine aesthetic” as a threat to humanity and used the television as a powerful symbol for totalitarian-style manipulation. Haring uses the image of the television screen in this work to symbolise the uncontrollable nature of mass culture.
Using the religious imagery of the final judgement, Haring depicts a mass of piled-up human figures as they escape up the tongue of a crying demon with pig’s snout and horns. A deformed figure climbs a set of stairs just above, representing the entrance or vortex of a hell circle. Faced with the deaths of many of his friends due to AIDS, Apocalypse 7 is indicative of how Haring felt about life and humanity at the time. The Mona Lisa appears again, rendered almost anonymous with her face ripped off and placed on the satanic pig. Haring removes all identifying features from his subjects, serving as a powerful representation of how AIDS has indiscriminately affected many thousands of people, and how their suffering has been met with public indifference.