This signed etching from 1989 is a limited edition of 80 from Keith Haring’s The Valley series. The Valley Page 6 shows an image of a figure with a pipe to its mouth, squiggly lines spouting from the end and covering the entire print. The figure is depicted in a highly unusual way, with very large hands and a head that is too big for its body.
The Valley series was born from a collaboration with the Beat Era poet and novelist William S. Burroughs, whose text-based ‘cut-up’ method formed the basis of Haring’s pictographic style. Marking a new direction in Haring’s visual language, this more complex style continued until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 31.
Much like Haring’s Apocalypse series (1988), this series introduces stylistic and thematic shifts in the artist’s style, depicting characters and narratives that are indicative of the artist’s preoccupation with the end of life. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, The Valley Page 6 is representative of the way in which Haring’s work and activism became intensely embroiled in his personal life and the socio-political context of the AIDS epidemic in New York City.