Amsterdam Welcomes the Return of Keith Haring’s Largest Mural in Europe And its Being Unveiled for the First Time in 30 Years
A mural by Keith Haring was revealed in Amsterdam last week, some 30 years after the US artist completed the commission, which was his gift to the Dutch city. The 40-foot-tall mural was painted by Haring in 1986 while he was in town for his exhibition at museum. It was covered a few years later when the entire facade of the brick building, which was then the Stedelijk’s art storage depot, had weatherboarding added to improve its climate controls.
Installed by the artist over two days, the single-white line mural features a mythical dog-headed creature being ridden by one of Haring’s X-marked figures.
The long-hidden mural’s unveiling comes on the heels of another remarkable reinstallation of a Haring work at the Stedelijk from the same exhibition—which marked the artist’s first show in the Netherlands. The epic , a 40 feet by 66 feet hand-painted canopy that was commissioned for the 1986 show was painstakingly restored over four months and hung in the main hall of the museum last fall. The exhibition closed at the beginning of June.
Despite Haring’s status today, the exhibition, which drew huge crowds, received mixed and often negative reviews from critics. Many were skeptical of whether a “street artist” deserved a place in such a museum.
Graffiti legend Aileen Middel (aka Mick La Rock) was behind the project, rallying all the parties involved to finally reveal this mysterious mural. In 2009, the Stedelijk moved its storage to another location. The building, which is in a working class district of the city, is now a store for Food Center Amsterdam. Over the next weeks, restorers will take a look at the work’s condition.
Middel, the interim manager of the Stedelijk, Jan Willem Sieburgh, and Julia Gruen, the director of the Keith Haring Foundation in New York, attended a ceremony to official welcome back Haring’s wall painting.
Tate Liverpool announced last week that it was presenting a Keith Haring survey next summer in partnership with BOZAR, the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels, where it will travel in December 2019.
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