1986 Keith Haring artwork revived for display at Stedelijk Museum

Keith Haring, Untitled (velum), 1986, coll. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam © Keith Haring Foundation


AMSTERDAM – On 12 October, a velum painted by Keith Haring (1958-1990) will be on display once again at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

The American artist painted the canvas, which filters daylight into the grand hallway, especially for his solo exhibition at the Stedelijk in 1986. For this show, Haring didn’t simply want to present artwork he’d already made; he insisted on creating new work.

Laying out the velum — which measures almost 40 x 66 feet, 12 x 20 meters — on the floor of one of the museum galleries, he painted it in just one day, using spray paint. Haring turned the event into an energy-fueled performance. While photographers and journalists looked on, he painted rapidly and rhythmically, moving over the canvas, with hip-hop music playing in the background. He filled the canvas with dancing, waving figures; crawling babies and squirming animals.


Keith Haring at work in the Stedelijk © Keith Haring Foundation


Known as the “Keith Haring Velum,” the painting was stretched below the museum’s monumental glass cupola, above the historic staircase. The painting was an instant hit. Now, more than 30 years later, the restored velum is back for everyone to enjoy.

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