This signed etching from 1989 is a limited edition of 80 from Keith Haring’s The Valley series. The Valley Page 12 shows an image of three helicopters flying over a valley to rescue a group of people in the foreground, rendered in fine black lines in a highly unusual composition.
The Valley Page 12 is accompanied by an ominous text by the beat poet and novelist William S. Burroughs, describing the rescue mission portrayed in the image. Copied by hand on sixteen sheets of tracing paper, the text is photo-etched onto copper plates and printed in red ink. The text which is also titled, ‘The Valley,’ is a chapter from the author’s novel, The Western Lands from 1987.
The use of closely rendered, thin lines is unusual within Haring’s oeuvre and creates a dense pattern across the lower half of the print. The group of figures in the foreground are shown with eyes like saucers and their arms are flapping in the air, working to increase the tension of the image. This particular series is representative of a stylistic shift exemplified in his Cranbrook Mural (1987) that introduced intentional blotches, drips and themes around death and the end of times.