Because of Keith Haring's fervent belief that artwork should be accessible to everyone, kids these days have their pick of Haring-adorned playthings: Radiant Baby rocking horses, Dancing Man tops, and Graffiti Heart yo-yos. While those are all fantastic ways to introduce fine art to the little tykes, Tokyo-based company Tenga is coming out with some toys decidedly better suited for grown-ups.
But what are they? At first glance, they appear to be an egg and a stick of deodorant covered in familiar Haring icons, but after careful inspection, you realize they're male sex toys — what Tenga refers to as "the future of masturbation." How do they work? Rather than tell you, we've opted to provide the diagram to the left to help you better understand their functions. (If you're still in the dark, please refer to the graphic available on the company's Web site, which reveals the location of the "secret lotion keeper.")
We can assume that Haring would be all for the collaboration. Despite criticisms he deflected in life for the unabashed commercialism of his SoHo Pop Shop, product branding was his method of disseminating his art democratically. Not only was he far from bashful about his sexuality (evidenced in a lot of ways, including his NSFW mural at Greenwich Village LGBT Center), but the Keith Haring Foundation was established in 1989 to support AIDS-related and children's charities.
Last year, the foundation even collaborated with Dasha Zhukova's Moscow art juggernaut the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture to celebrate the magazine's sex issue, allowing the depiction of Haring's work to be used on condom wrappers passed out in each copy — albeit with the frustrating disclaimer, "This condom is a piece of art. This condom is not meant for use." Shucks. At least with Tenga, you have a sure-fire back-up plan. Solo sex, after all, is the safest kind there is.