Had Andy (Warhol) not broken the concept of what art is supposed to be, I just wouldn't have been able to exist. Keith Haring


Wouldn’t it be great to have been in the room, or better still, at the iconic Studio 54 in the early 80s, when the Grandfathers of Pop Art, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring got together for a cheeky Dom Perignon or two. Both known for their lavish behaviour and flamboyant lifestyles, living in the same time and place and socialising in the same circles. But were they actually friends?

If Warhol dominated the art world of the big Apple at the time, Keith Haring was something of a pip on the scene. Socially, his best ally was Warhol. They allegedly had something of a mutually beneficial relationship going on. Warhol introducing Haring to the IT crowd of creative New York and Haring keeping the older Warhol in tune with the explosive youth culture of the time.

The relationship between two of the most iconic figures in the art world, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, is one that has been the subject of much debate. While there is no definitive answer to the question of their friendship, there are some clues that suggest they were close.


The various corners of the internet will tell you with 100% certainty that Warhol and Haring first met in Chow’s restaurant, OR, actually in Warhol’s studio The Factory, OR for certain at an exhibition in New York OR indeed a multitude of other locations. However, the first actually documented interaction between Warhol and Haring was in 1979 when Haring attended a screening of Warhol’s film Bad at the Mudd Club in New York City. It was here that Haring was introduced to Warhol and his entourage, which included Jean-Michel Basquiat. This initial meeting would lay the foundation for a friendship between the two artists.


Both Warhol and Haring made work depicting the other. Haring’s Andy Mouse is a mash up of Mickey Mouse and Andy Warhol. In one of the portraits, Andy Mouse is pictured on a dollar bill. 

It's like treating him [Warhol] like he was part of American culture, like Mickey Mouse was. That he himself had become a symbol, a sign for something complete, universally understandable. - Keith Haring

Warhol, the father of Pop Art, known for depicting the universally recognisable iconography of the time, was thus immortalised as an icon himself within the very genre that he had spawned. A neat ouroboros if ever there was one.


In addition to collaborating on artwork, Warhol and Haring were often seen socialising together at various events throughout New York City during the 1980s. They were to be found attending art openings together or having dinner with mutual friends such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Grace Jones, or Bowie, suggesting a close friendship as well as a professional symbiotic relationship.


Although both Warhol and Haring passed away in 1987, their legacy lives on through their artwork and influence on modern art culture. Their friendship serves as an example of how two vastly different artists can come together to create something beautiful despite their differences. Their friendship serves as an

inspiration for aspiring artists today who are looking to collaborate with others who have different styles or approaches to creating art. On reflection it appears that Andy Warhol and Keith Haring did indeed have a close friendship during their lifetimes despite their differences in style and approach to art making. Through collaborations, socialising together, and mutual respect for each other’s work, these two iconic figures left behind a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire generations of artists for years to come.

And from their own mouths...

Before I knew [Warhol], he had been an image to me. 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  Keith Haring

I am a deeply superficial person Andy Warhol

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