For the first time in 30 years, the massive drawing Amsterdam Notes by American artist and activist Keith Haring is on display in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Keith made the 38-meter-long drawing in 1986, especially for his first museum exhibition at the Stedelijk, and it is now back where it belongs, the museum said.
“Amsterdam Notes is a contemporary Bayeux tapestry among art connoisseurs and a holy grail for Keith Haring fans,” Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam director Rein Wolfs said. “Work on paper is fragile and therefore often hangs briefly in the museum. The drawing was last seen over 30 years ago. Such a unique moment will, therefore, not come again soon.”
According to the museum, Haring’s recognizable and accessible style has kept him as popular as ever. “His engaged work often deals with social and political themes such as war, racism, drugs, and Aids, which still resonate with many people,” the museum said.
Amsterdam Notes is unique compared to Haring’s other work in many respects. “The black ink drawing framed in red acrylic paint is probably one of his biggest museum pieces,” the museum said. “The typical images of barking dogs, dancing dolls, and beaming babies have been replaced by imaginative monsters and colossal animals. Human figures dance, make love, fly, and jump between these creatures.”
Unlike Haring’s other works, Amsterdam Notes has more empty space and is less crowded. “Amsterdam Notes shows another side of Haring and marks his way to world fame.”
Image Keith Haring drawing Amsterdam Notes in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1986 – Credit: Keith Haring Foundation / Rob Bogaerts. Nationaal Archief/Anefo – License: All Rights Reserved Image Amsterdam Notes signed by Keith Haring, 1986 – Credit: Keith Haring Foundation / Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam – License: All Rights Reserved