Mr Wade, an employee of the New York City Subway, noticed a many-armed alien and a UFO on the platform at 23rd street station. The creature in question was a chalk creation by Pennsylvania native Keith Haring. Mr Wade went about carefully removing the work from the Metro station before selling it to a French collector who exhibited the work of street art at Galería Unik de Deauville, which specialised in Post-war, contemporary and street art.

Keith Haring, Octopus Alien with UFO Keith Haring, Octopus Alien with UFO

Now, 34 years later, that same subway piece is set to be sold at the Spanish auction house Duran Subastas.z

Haring's work on sale at Duran captures the conceptions behind some of the most prominent artists of the 1980s. Consumption of contemporary art increased so  sharply that prices reached absurd levels. More and more artists began to practice their craft in public spaces. The avant-garde art scene from the late 1970s to the 1980's consisted of a new-expressionist style with more figurative motifs in vivid colours, which focused on such raw human concepts as anxiety, excitement, exclusion and ambiguity.

blog.php-37 Haring working on a piece in a New York subway station during the 1980s

Keith Haring (1958-1990) began his career in the subways of New York, but unlike other street artists who used a more permanent spray paint, Haring chose to use crayons that were easy to wipe away. Haring was part of the New Expression era, his art was deeply personal and characterised by its open vulnerability which explored such once-taboo subject as AIDS and the crack epidemic in New York.


In commercial terms, Haring's art was very successful, his motifs lent themselves easily to being printed on t-shirts, buttons and stickers, all of which made for perfect marketing for his activist campaigns. Although Keith Haring passed away prematurely at the age of 32, his art lives on thanks to the time he invested in creating public murals.

Keith Harring's work Octopus Alien with UFO will be up for auction at Duran Subastas on 21st September. Check out the full catalogue here.