See the Rare Keith Haring Drawing—Measuring a Massive 125 Feet—That Is Going on View in Amsterdam for the First Time in 30 Years
Stedelijk Museum’s director calls it a ‘contemporary Bayeux tapestry.’
Keith Haring drawing Amsterdam Notes in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1986. Photo: Rob Bogaerts. National Archives of the Netherlands / Anefo. Amsterdam Notes copyright © Keith Haring Foundation
By 1986, Keith Haring was at the peak of his powers. But when tasked with creating an exhibition for Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, Haring refused to remount old works, or even to lean on the celebrated visual motifs—the barking dogs, the glowing babies—with which his name had become synonymous. The New York artist wanted to create something completely new.
One of the results was Amsterdam Notes, a 125-foot black ink drawing that stands as one of the largest pieces Haring made for a museum. Nearly three decades on, Stedelijk is restaging the giant paperwork in its IMC Gallery, its so-called hall of honor, alongside two other works from the museum’s collection from May 26.
“For art lovers, Amsterdam Notes is a contemporary Bayeux tapestry, and a holy grail for Haring fans. Since works on paper are fragile, they cannot be exhibited for long,” the museum’s director Rein Wolfs said. “Moments such as this are unique, and happen rarely. But, this summer, the door to the Stedelijk’s treasury is ajar.”