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August 8, 2022

Polaroid Portraits of Keith Haring and Juan Dubose Taken by Andy Warhol, 1983

The early 1980s saw the emergence of artists, including Keith Haring, whose work originated in or was inspired by graffiti, the stylized words and pictures that rebellious adolescents were spray-painting on walls and other public surfaces in urban America. Andy Warhol made Haring’s acquaintance in 1982.

“Before I knew [Warhol], he had been an image to me,” said Haring. “He was totally unapproachable. I met him finally through Christopher Makos, who brought me to the Factory. At first Andy was very distant. It was difficult for him to be comfortable with people if he didn’t know them. Then he came to another exhibition at the Fun Gallery, which was soon after the show at Shafrazi. He was more friendly. We started talking, going out. We traded a lot of works at that time.”

Haring attributed his simple graphic style, which Warhol praised as “cartoonist,” to the hallucinatory power of drugs. Warhol made his Polaroids of Haring and his partner Juan Dubose, in preparation for several forty by forty-inch painted portraits, one executed in black and white. The camera’s flash and studio lighting created strong shadows that haunt the figures. Warhol helped his young friends deal with problems caused by their early success, but portraits such as this––heavy with memorial overtones––suggest that he was also prescient about their early deaths.

(Photos © The Andy Warhol Foundation)


  1. Replies
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