Visual artist and long-time Keith Haring fan, A$AP Ferg visited Sotheby’s to preview an online auction of 12 rare original drawings by the late artist known as the “Pop Shop Drawings,” presented publicly together for the first time since their creation in 1985.
In 1986, Haring opened a storefront on Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, offering both his art and merchandise at accessible price points. The Pop Shop catapulted his brand to a global level and cemented him as a groundbreaking artist of his time.
Growing up in Harlem, A$AP Ferg was surrounded by Haring’s art – from tags on the handball courts to his renowned Crack is Whack mural – and as a student of the High School of Art & Design, Ferg sought out the art scene in Soho where the Pop Shop was located and where he found a sense of community.
A$AP Ferg visited Sotheby’s to preview the rare Keith Haring collection and for a discussion about how the New York art scene has influenced his own artistic practices. Against the backdrop of Haring’s Pop Shop drawings, Ferg explores the intersection of music and art, what it means to be a multidimensional artist and the importance of community to art. Watch the video below.
Discussing Haring's Pop Shop drawings and how Haring pioneered a democratic artistic practice that brought art to the masses, Ferg comments: "He was so multi-dimensional, and that's what I represent as well. He was able to monetize the brand and style across the globe. And what's the best way to do it? Put it on t-shirts, merchandise, clothes. He even painted Grace Jones to show that this is for everybody."
Haring's work was deeply influenced by music and the New York club scene; Ferg notes: "You can tell music inspired the drawings. It just signifies that he never forgot where he came from. Everything has a thread, and he made us understand his language. Music is sonically a vibe and these drawings are visually a vibe."
A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to Best Buddies International, a nonprofit creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Best Buddies' iconic logo was personally donated to the charity by Haring in the late 1980s.
"The Pop Shop Drawings" are on view by appointment at Sotheby’s New York from now until March 14 with bidding for the auction open until 15 March.