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Apocalypse 8

Apocalypse 8
Signed Print

Keith Haring

Screenprint, 1988
Signed Print Edition of 90
H 96cm x W 96cm

Critical Review

The screen print Apocalypse 8 continues themes of hellishness and promiscuity that characterises the series as a whole. Framed by the number 666, the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelations and common symbol for Satan, Haring’s print explicitly points to the idea of Hell itself.

Apocalypse 8 shows a magazine clipping of a 1950s-era young girl, posing cheerfully in a frilly white dress to celebrate the Christian sacrament of First Communion. As with other prints in the series, Haring uses collage to shock the viewer and create a dialogue between dissimilar worlds. Placed among drawings of grotesque beasts, satanic symbols and promiscuity, Haring uses his linear style to deface the child and add mutating limbs that reflect the chaos around her. Lines radiating from the child’s head are reminiscent of his Radiant Baby 1990), glowing with an energy that renders her as sacred. An unusual but effective medium for the artist, collage works to inject a moment of purity and unrelenting optimism into the violent terrain occupied by the surrounding socio-cultural demons.

In this print, AIDS is explicitly represented as a plague in Hell. Haring depicts a glory hole in pastel blue, through which an ejaculating phallus is visible. Especially associated with gay culture, the glory hole alludes to the way in which AIDS was stigmatised as the ‘gay plague’ in 1980s America and the personified virus, the horned ‘devil sperm’, shoots upwards as though born out of this promiscuous activity. humour, Keith Haring is one of the most influential and adored artists of the 20th century.