Unmistakably Haring, the 40-foot tall artwork was painted by the late graffiti artist in 1986 and features a funky sea monster that looks like a cross between a dog and a dolphin, being ridden by one of the artist’s iconic X-marked figures.
Haring painted the white-lined composition as a gift to the city when he was visiting for his exhibition at the Stedlijk Museum, his first-ever show in the Netherlands. The mural is the largest he created in Europe, and decorates an outdoor wall at the museum’s former storage facility.
It was covered by weatherboarding a few years after it was created to keep the interior of the building at a more art-friendly temperature. The piece remained hidden from view ever since, until Dutch street artist Aileen Middel (aka Mick La Rock) pushed for its unveiling.
The elusive mural’s public exposition comes on the heels of another of the artist’s works being reinstalled at the Stedelijk last Autumn. Keith Haring Velum is a 40ft x 66ft hand-painted canopy commissioned for the same exhibition for which he made the mural. It took four months to restore Velum, which hung in the main hall of the museum until the beginning of June.
It’s a good time to be a Haring fan. Tate Liverpool recently announced that it would be showing a survey of the artist’s work next summer in partnership the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels, where the exhibition will travel to in December 2019. Popular fashion brand Coach’s Spring 2018 collection, Coach X Keith Haring presented quintessential motifs by the artist printed on everything from leather jackets to wallets. ‘Art is for everybody,’ is a quote famously attributed to the New York creative. With the Amsterdam mural back in the public eye, these words ring truer than ever.