Keith Haring's birthday and bathroom graffiti

Today is Keith Haring's birthday! He would have been 54 years old. Google has honored him with a homepage Google Doodle. It reminded me that my cousin, who attended NYC's School of Visual Arts at the same time as Haring, once told me that Keith was infamous at school for covering the bathrooms with porn graffiti. They'd quickly paint over it, and eventually he'd do it again. I bet they wish they'd have clear-coated it instead. I imagine it looked something like the former men's room (now a conference room!) at the LGBT Community Center in New York City that Haring was invited to paint in 1989. The "Haring Bathroom" is now under restoration. From Passport:

 Sites Artcarenyc.Com Files U5 Keith-Haring-At-Lgbt

Completed months before he died of AIDS, this mural is perhaps Haring’s most personal and resonant expression of sexual jouissance, and is the only Haring mural of its kind.

As part of the Center’s major renovation of 1998-2001, new, code-compliant bathrooms were created, and the old bathrooms were re-purposed as meeting rooms. But the Haring Bathroom needed a different approach. The partitions and toilets were removed but the tile walls and all the old pipes and ducts were left where they were when Keith originally painted on or around them.

"Keith Haring Mural Unveiled at the LGBT Community Center in New York City"

More photos: "The US$2 Million Bathroom Pop-Art Mural of Keith Haring" (The Playground)



  1. I used to do some subway art on those black papers the MTA helpfully put up for us, met Haring a few times.  His work was great.  The best, best part was that his most famous piece was so misinterpreted.  The ‘baby’ is not a baby.  In the NY Times Magazine interview he was asked about ‘the baby’, and matter-of-factly replied “it’s not a baby, it’s a man”.   This pin that everybody was wearing feeling all good inside about a baby was actually a work of homo-erotic genius.  Fantastic, and I bet most people still haven’t noticed.

    1.  Although I was only a kid in the 70’s, and didn’t really “approve” of Graffiti (I was a very righteous and judgmental kid) I loved what Haring did on those black papered over ad spaces.  I didn’t know who he was, but his art filled me with joy and questions — which, in my book, meant it really was art.  Resquiat in Pacem.

    1. Boing Boing has a well-established policy of not being SFW, so the problem is yours. Don’t visit during the workday if you have to worry.

      1. I work in my bedroom, so pictures of dicks are just an opportunity to multi-task.

    2. Hey, it’s not porn. Just call it a “resonant expression of sexual jouissance.”

      Voila, ART!

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