Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
Standing on the corner of Houston St. and Bowery in NYC, one can see this large replica of a 1982 Keith Haring mural. The piece was commissioned by the Keith Haring Foundation and Deitch Projects this past May, to commemorate the late artist’s 50th birthday. In the process however, an ever-evolving hot spot for taggers was covered up by the $30,000 project – until now. Recently, graffiti artist and former Haring collaborator, LA II decided to make his own additions to the replicated wall, spray painting in all the negative spaces with identifying tags and clusters of simple lines, much in the style and spirit of Haring.
The act was done as part homage and part protest. As a teenager, LA II, whose real name is Angel Ortiz, collaborated with Haring on many works. Despite the well documented relationship, Ortiz claims the Haring Foundation has continually denied him proper credit and licensing royalties for the art he helped create. In a New York Times article dated August 5th, Ortiz said “wanted to show the foundation: This is LA II, this is how it all started.”
The Foundation’s take on the situation is quite different, asserting Ortiz “was compensated for all the work he did with Keith Haring in Keith Haring’s lifetime.” As for their official stance on the additions to the mural, the message has come off somewhat mixed. The Times quotes executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation, Julia Guen, saying Ortiz was “respectful” in his modifications to the wall. However, in an article in The Villager, Gruen stated, “hell it was a little disappointing…We were hopeful it would not get tagged. LA seems to have some sort of beef with the foundation.”
Despite the ongoing controversy, one thing we do feel sure of is that the modified mural is certainly more interesting than the original replica. More after the jump, click pics for larger images.
Before and After….