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Keith Haring, Once Upon a Time, 1989
A restorer at work on Keith Haring’s Once Upon a Time, 1989

KEITH HARING BATHROOM MURAL RESTORED

Feb. 22, 2012

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To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969, Keith Haring decided to paint a mural in “a space that was very special to him” -- the men’s bathroom at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, located at 208 W. 13th St. in Manhattan. Haring died from AIDS-related causes a year later and the center has since turned the bathrooms into conference rooms.

Yet over the years, Once Upon a Time, a cartoonish explosion of homoerotic pleasure, has deteriorated, with paint flaking off and the surface collecting dust and grime. So Sotheby’s chief auctioneer Tobias Meyer and his partner, art advisor Mark Fletcher, stepped in to pay for the three-week restoration of the mural, done by Rustin Levenson Art Conservation Associates.

Now the center is unveiling the restored work with an invitation-only reception on Mar. 6, 2012, followed by a month of public viewing and Haring-centric programming, including a family art day with Haring’s coloring books, a “Q & Gay” on the history of hookup culture with the founder of the Scruff iPhone app, Johnny Scruff, an 1980s DJ dance party and a screening of the Haring documentary Drawing the Line.

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