Created in the artist’s immediately recognisable linear style, The Blueprint Drawings 8 is a signed screen print from Keith Haring’s The Blueprint Drawings series from 1990 and is a limited edition of 33.
Haring depicts a number of anonymous male figures in the foreground holding their erect penises, set against a dotted landscape and monumental pyramid on the horizon. One of Haring’s most iconic pictograms, the UFO, can be seen to the right of image, striking one of the figures with its radiating beams.
Completed the year of Haring’s tragic death by AIDS in 1990, this image cannot be considered outside of the context of sexuality, HIV/AIDS and death. Haring’s faceless figures in this print, characterised only by their erect penises, plays into the idea of anonymous sex as taboo in the homosexual community. As the HIV/AIDS epidemic devastated the gay community in the 1980s, Haring spoke of the horrors that could result from extreme promiscuity at the time. The Blueprint Drawings 8, shows these figures crying for help as they are struck by the UFO one by one, symbolising this fear of dying from the virus.
The inclusion of both the pyramid and the UFO symbolises the presence of unknown forces, creating a tension between ancient civilisation, eternity and an extra-terrestrial future. In particular the UFO represents otherness and those who lie outside of social norms, notably those figures who live with HIV/AIDS and face the stigma attached to the virus.