Street art fans are flocking to the Netherlands after a monumental Keith Haring mural was recently discovered in the Dutch capital.
A 40-foot Keith Haring mural was uncovered last week in Amsterdam, after spending almost 30 years hidden from public view. The piece is the pop art pioneer’s largest European public work and was unveiled after a four-year campaign led by legendary Dutch graffiti artist and longtime Haring fan, Aileen Madel (a.k.a. Mick La Rock).
The mural features Haring’s signature line-art style and was painted on the brick wall of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum’s storage facility in 1986, four years before the artist’s death from an AIDS-related illness.
The iconic New York artist had been invited to Amsterdam in 1986 to paint a canvas copy inside the Stedelijk. However, upon his visit, Haring requested to create a more public work of art, intended as his gift to the city. He wanted his work to be available to the public, not just visitors to the museum so Stedelijk offered him the brick wall of their storage facility where the artist created the 40-foot mural.
The mural, featuring Haring’s X-marked figure riding a hybrid creature with a fishtail and dog’s head, lived on display until the museum moved premises in 1989. The building was converted into a cold-storage facility and the artwork was concealed by industrial cladding as part of a climate control project. Haring’s gift to Amsterdam would have remained hidden until Mick La Rock came across a photo four years ago that featured the mural and launched a campaign to bring it back into the public domain so that new generations of street art fans could admire Haring’s work.
La Rock teamed up with the Dutch gallery Vroom&Varossieu, and the Stedelijk Museum to remove the panels and the mural was eventually unveiled last week at a press conference in the city’s Markt Kwartier. According to the New York Times, the mural will be restored by conservationists, Will Shank and Antonio Rava, who previously restored large-scale Haring murals in Pisa and Paris.
The unveiling in Amsterdam follows the news that the Tate Liverpool is hosting the first major UK exhibition of Keith Haring’s work in 2019.