We owe this discovery to the graffiti artist Aileen Middel, alias Mick La Rock who, devoted to the art of Haring, joined the library of the Stedelijk Museum, the Keith Haring Foundation, the city of Amsterdam Marktkwartier West.
Restorers hope that the recent easing of travel restrictions within the EU will allow them to start work in the coming months on the installation which has suffered significant paint loss since its creation in 1986. The mural has has been the subject of a local campaign asking for its restoration since its discovery in 2018.
Haring is known for his commitment to making his graphic art as accessible as possible to his audience. He painted this mural while he was in Amsterdam for his first solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum. Will Shank, an independent American curator, hopes to restore the mural with his Italian colleague Antonio Rava as part of a four to six week project. In 1986, Haring painted directly on the brick, drawing a white line of titanium without any preliminary sketch, starting from the top right of the building, gradually working its way down to the left. The image which measures approximately 12 meters by 15 meters is quite unusual in the artist's work. Indeed, it is a creature with a dog head, a caterpillar body, human arms and a fish tail, on the back of which sits a person.
However, at the time the fresco was painted, 20% of the paint did not adhere to the wall then wet. In addition, the wall being made of two different types of bricks, one of them less porous has retained less material. In this way, a paint job is planned for this restoration, several types of paints will be tested on the scaffolding in order to find the one which will adhere best to the two bricks. A layer of water-repellent resin will also be applied to protect the white paint line against rain, dirt and ultraviolet light.
In 1994, the building on which the work was carried out changes hands and becomes a warehouse of refrigerated food. It was in these circumstances that the wall was coated with an aluminum cover which completely obscured the mural. Despite some paint loss, this metal grid mainly protected it from rain, insects and birds for two and a half decades.
It was in 2014 that interest in the work resurfaced when Mick La Rock came across a photograph of the wall.
The restoration costs are 180 euros and will be funded equally by the Haring Foundation, the municipality of Amsterdam and Marktkwartier, a real estate collaboration between Ballast Nedam Development, part of Rönesans Holding, and Volkerwessels Vastgoed BV, which owns the building in the city's food center area.