The mural is being repainted by Gotham Scenic using the extensive photographic documentation of the original work. The work will be unveiled on May 4, 2008 the day that would have been Keith Haringâ€™s 50th Birthday.
It used to be a handball court so it was a free-standing concrete wall with an accumulation of about three feet of garbage in front being held in place by a small fence. It was pretty disgusting, rat infested, almost a garbage dump and an eyesore in a neighborhood where an eyesore wasnâ€™t a problem. Weâ€™re talking about the corner of Houston and the Bowery which was a desolate area to begin with so we decided that we didnâ€™t have to ask permission because the wall was covered with garbage and we thought that if we cleaned up the garbage then no one was going to ask us whether we had permission to paint it. So me and Juan together shovel the garbage into the bags and fill, literally forty or fifty bags full of garbage that are lined up there on the street. We then proceed to use a ladder and paint the wall entirely white with fluorescent Day-Glo enamel on top. I did this mural in two days or something. The first day was spent just putting the color on and then the next day doing the black lines. The fluorescent paint was so bright that when the sun hit the wall it was glowing and it was just this incredible monolith. â€“ Excerpted from the original transcripts of John Gruenâ€™s interviews with Keith Haring conducted in 1989 for Keith Haring: the Authorized Biography (1991) haring.com
I walked past Keith while he was painting the original in ’82. He was there by himself and seemed annoyed at my friendly, supportive greeting. As I remember it, he grunted and scowled. I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.