This signed etching from 1989 is a limited edition of 80 from Keith Haring’s The Valley series. Rendered in a drawing style that is far more detailed that much of Haring’s oeuvre, The Valley Page 13 shows an image of the characters from the fictional ‘Valley’ alongside a figure dressed in protective gear. This print sees Haring complicating the simplistic bold lines that he is renowned for.
The Valley series marked a new direction in Haring’s visual language that continued until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 31. Alongside his Apocalypse series (1988), this series introduces stylistic shifts of more complex compositions and characters such as jesters, masks, skills and martyrs. Completed two years after Haring’s own AIDS diagnosis, The Valley Page 13 is indicative of the artist’s preoccupation with hellish narratives and death.
Incorporating the text of beat poet and novelist William S. Burroughs alongside his images, The Valley series represents Haring at the peak of his career. Whilst a student at the School of Visual Arts, Haring came across the Beat poets at the 1978 Nova Convention and had been inspired by Burroughs’ methods of breaking down language ever since. Read in conjunction with Burroughs’ free-form text, Haring’s prints represent disjointed, violent and at times perplexing episodes that imagine the horrors of The Valley.