Yesterday evening, I walked over to look at the 50th birthday tribute mural for Keith Haring, created by the Keith Haring Foundation and Deitch Projects. I took some pictures that you can see on my Flickr account.
The mural is actually a re-creation of a mural that Haring himself painted on the very same wall on Houston, at Bowery. The original mural only stayed up for a few months in the summer of 1982 before Haring himself painted it over (there were some issues with deterioration that led him to paint it over, if I understand right).
The Deitch Foundation press release has a nice quote from Haring:
(the site) was a freestanding concrete wall with an accumulation of about three feet of garbage in front…It was pretty disgusting, rat infested, almost a garbage dump and an eyesore in a neighborhood where an eyesore wasn’t a problem. We’re talking about the corner of Houston and the Bowery which was a desolate area to begin with so we decided that we didn’t have to ask permission because the wall was covered with garbage and we thought that if we cleaned up the garbage then no one was going to ask us whether we had permission to paint it…I did this mural in two days or something. The first day was spent just putting the color on and then the next day doing the black lines. The fluorescent paint was so bright that when the sun hit the wall it was glowing and it was just this incredible monolith.
The mural, together with the Liz Christy Community Garden across Bowery, are reminders of the DIY spirit that once thrived in this neighborhood, now called NoHo.
Angel Ortiz, AKA LA II, who had collaborated with Haring between 1980 and 1986, altered the mural recently. For the last twenty years, Ortiz has been seeking to be recognized by the Haring Foundation for his involvement with works entirely credited to Haring.