• KEITH HARING. Silence = Death, 1988. Acrylic on canvas, Each side: 120 inches (304.8 cm); Height: 103 15/16 inches (264 cm). © 2018 The Keith Haring Foundation. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

Keith Haring | Silence = Death

Silence = Death
1988
Acrylic on canvas
Each side: 120 inches (304.8 cm)
Height: 103 15/16 inches (264 cm)
© 2018 The Keith Haring Foundation
Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein

 


 

Keith Haring’s seminal Silence = Death (1988) was painted the year the artist was diagnosed with AIDS. In the final year of Haring’s life, his work centered on social activism, and this painting adapts the pink triangle featured in a 1987 poster produced by the Silence=Death collective, and popularized by the organization ACT UP. Haring overlaid the triangle with figures acting out the pictorial maxim “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil,” alluding to the Reagan administration’s refusal to acknowledge the AIDS epidemic.