NFT auction for Keith Haring’s never-before-seen digital drawings he made on a computer Timothy Leary gave him in the mid-1980s

In 1986, Timothy Leary gave his pal Keith Haring an Amiga computer. Leary had hoped Haring would create art for his project “Neuromancer: An Electronic Mind Movie,” an interactive digital story that would be a software promotion for a Neuromancer feature film.

“I see your art as perfectly harmonious with screen presentation. Your style is, more than any other artists geared to 21st century expressions,” Leary wrote to Haring.

Unfortunately, neither project happened. However, Haring did create a series of digital drawings—found on a floppy disc in Leary’s archives—that are now being auctioned as NFTs by Christie’s. The NFTs are expected to sell for $200,000 to $500,000. Whatever. I’m just happy we can all enjoy looking at the art now. You can read more about Haring and the Neuromancer project in Leary’s online archives at the New York Public Library. And here’s more background from Christie’s:

The story of these NFTs begins in 1984, at a birthday party for the nine-year-old son of John Lennon, Sean. Steve Jobs, Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring were all in attendance. Jobs brought his Macintosh computer with him and gave the guests a demonstration of his new machine. Warhol soon took Sean’s place in front of it, and after having a go with the drawing tool, excitedly exclaimed to Haring, ‘Look! Keith! I drew a circle!’ From that point on, the two artists began to explore the frontiers of digital art[…]

Warhol was undeniably enthusiastic about digital art, but Haring felt the strongest affinity with the new medium. He integrated the Amiga computer into his work much more and drew these five digital images which will be offered in this sale as NFTs[…]

The Amiga allowed him, on the one hand, to replicate his characteristic drawing style. He wrote in his journal on 8 July 1986, ‘My drawings were perfect for translation into computers because the drawing line was already very close to the idea of “pixels” (the dots, or squares, that comprise a computer-generated image).’

image: Christie’s
image: Christie’s
image: Christie’s

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