Amsterdam, 22 June 2018 – This week, the enormous 12 x 15-meter mural Keith Haring made in 1986 has reappeared on the wall of the former depot of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The mural, which Haring painted in 1986 at the same time as his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, was only on display for a few years and disappeared behind aluminum plates that were removed last Monday, June 18, after almost thirty years.
Photo published on the left in the Appendix of the catalog ‘Keith Haring Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam 1986’, on the right ‘Mural Keith Haring to be seen again on 22 June 2018’. Appendix collection: Dutch Graffiti Library – © Keith Haring Foundation
Dutch Graffiti Library was present today at the special one-time viewing organized for the press. Under supervision, we enter the site and speak briefly with the initiators Vroom & Varossieau and Mick La Rock.
Mick la Rock (Mickey TFP): “That Haring just had to come out from under those plates. This is Haring’s largest preserved mural in the public space in Europe.”
Four years ago, Mick la Rock took the initiative to bring together, motivate and convince all parties involved of the importance of preserving this mural. Jasper Krabbé (Jaz USA CTK) has also been lobbying for years to maintain the work.
Mick la Rock (Mickey TFP) and Jasper Krabbé (Jaz USA CTK). Right: Detail of the mural: signed KH 86 of which a small part is still hidden under one of the last plates to be removed. Photo: Dutch Graffiti Library
Jasper Krabbé: “Haring was already a superhero for us in 1986. It is wonderful to be able to see this work again after all these years. Haring painted the sea monster in one clear line. Therefore, it is a very powerful thing. After all these years the power still splashes off the wall.”
Keith Haring began drawing graffiti on the New York subway in 1980, but after joining the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1982 he exhibited worldwide. However, he didn’t want to become an elitist museum artist, so he made his work accessible to everyone by selling merchandise like shirts and pins. In 1986 he had his first museum exhibition in the Netherlands, at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. As he himself said: “… because it’s a major museum in Amsterdam, the show had phenomenal attendance. For me, it was an overwhelming experience, showing at the Stedelijk Museum. I felt I had really accomplished something.”
Cover and page from the catalogue ‘Keith Haring exhibition Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 1986’. Collection: Dutch Graffiti Library – © Keith Haring Foundation
Jasper Krabbé: “I hope that the building with the Haring artwork will have a beautiful destination in the future. Something of a public function or a gallery, then the circle would be complete.”
Marktkwartier West, owner of the building, sees the added value of the artwork for the area and has therefore commissioned the removal of the panels. The mural by Keith Haring is currently not publicly accessible, but can (partially) be seen from the Willem de Zwijgerlaan in Amsterdam West. Interim director of the Stedelijk Museum Jan Willem Sieburgh says that it is fantastic that this mural by Keith Haring is now visible again. In the near future, the Stedelijk, together with all those involved, the Keith Haring Foundation, the municipality of Amsterdam and Marktkwartier West, will be looking at how best to preserve this mural for the future.
Mural of Keith Haring from the Willem de Zwijgerlaan in Amsterdam West. Photo: Dutch Graffiti Library