August 26, 2008
Whilst the City of Adelaide scrubs the dirty walls of the city clean of graffiti New York City, which was once the home of graffiti culture, is now engaged in graffiti restoration. Beth Gregory, assistant curator at Stolen Space, a London gallery specialising in graffiti and outsider art, says:
It's a shame that city councils and officials didn't have the vision to save original public pieces of art from the pop art and early graffiti era all of which are now distant memories preserved only in books.
Keith Haring, who died from Aids-related complications in 1990 whilst still 31 year, is seen as an innovator with regard to how art is made, distributed and discussed. One of his street murals is being restored. But his work goes beyond street murals:
Ishai Goldstein, Keith Haring mural, old convent on West 108th Street, New York, circa 1980
Initially viewed simply as a graffiti artist who used vacant advertising boards in the New York subway as his canvas in the early 1980s, Keith Haring provoked debate on the street and within the exclusive art establishment with his radiant comic figures and increasingly political messages.
Update: 29 August
Keith Haring , Crack is wack, playground mural, Harlem, Manhattan, New York, 1986
Keith Haring appears to have been deeply committed to a public art as well as producing work within the New York art Gallery system. Throughout his career Haring produced more than 50 public artworks between 1982 and 1989, in dozens of cities around the world, many of which were created for charities, hospitals, children’s day care centers and orphanages. The now famous Crack is Wack mural of 1986, which has become a landmark along New York’s FDR Drive, is a double-sided mural was painted in the mid-80s on a handball court:
It was just seen as another act of graffiti in East Harlem and it said so on Keith Haring's $25 summons.But when then-Parks Commissioner Henry Stern heard about Haring's strong anti-drug message - "Crack Is Wack" - he asked the artist to finish the mural, setting the stage for what is now a cultural landmark in New York City.
Keith Haring, Crack is wack, East Harlem, 1986
The work arose out of Haring's sadness for a friend in the throes of crack addiction.The Parks Department maintains the mural with the help of funding from the Haring Foundation. It has been defaced a few times but there is respect on the street for works of art like this.
Haring's other public art projects include; a mural created for the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, on which Haring worked with 900 children; a mural on the exterior of Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, France in 1987; and a mural painted on the western side of the Berlin Wall three years before its fall. Haring also held drawing workshops for children in schools and museums in New York, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo and Bordeaux, and produced imagery for many literacy programs and other public service campaigns.