Due to a strange play of fortune, Amsterdam is now the city with the largest public mural by Keith Haring in Europe! The work/wall was revealed today during a press conference at the historic Markt Kwartier (Food Market), with graffiti legend, Aileen Middel aka Mick La Rock, director at the Stedelijk Museum, Jan Willem Sieburgh and Oliver Varossieau from Vroom & Varossieau gallery, in attendance. Julia Gruen, director of the Keith Haring Foundation in New York was also there to celebrate the resurfacing of this monumental piece.
The story began in 1982 when Keith Haring had his European debut exhibition in Rotterdam that was the prelude to his first museum solo that took place in the spring of 1986 at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Aside from a large colourful painting on a velum, that is back on display at Stedelijk since 2017, one of the major pieces the legendary artist created was an outdoor mural measuring 12m x 15m. As a gift to the city, the artist painted the mural in a working-class neighborhood, on the facade of what at the time was the Stedelijk museum's art storage depot.
Working freehand on the piece for two days, it's a large drawing featuring a recognizable human character, riding somewhat of a sea-monster, a hybrid between a dolphin and a horse (likely inspired by the works of sculptor Han Rädecker). Only a few years later, weatherboarding aluminium sheets were installed over it for reasons of climate control inside of the structure, and the mural wasn't seen since then. Frozen in time and space, the mural finally resurfaced after a couple of years of lobbying. The mural will definitely become a well-deserved Amsterdam attraction.
Text and photos by Sasha Bogojev