April 21, 2008

Thanks, Uncle Keith! The Haring Crib

keith_haring_depalma_crib.jpg

In the downtown New York art world of the early 1980's, Keith Haring was a rising star, but he was only one of a number of artists who took drawing more seriously than Art, and who insisted on breaking down the notions of high and low culture. When his artist friends started having kids, it may not have been immediately obvious that Haring--whose works often included cartoon-style depictions of the carefree, East Village gay sex scene--should create nursery furniture for them. But he did.

Haring was very sensitive to the need to tailor his art intended for young audiences, and he collaborated with kids all the time to create his work, whether they were friends' kids, kids from the neighborhood, or schoolchildren where he was installing a mural. He was the godfather to at least one friend's child, Zena Scharf [daughter of Haring's close friend Kenny], and he painted at least two cribs as gifts for his friends.

One crib, which has been exhibited as recently as 2007 in the Radical NY! show of 1980's downtown art at NYU, can be seen here, obscured by this goofy librarian, when the show traveled to Austin, TX.

Another Haring crib will be shown the first time in public on May 9th, in New York. Signed and dated Jan. 21 1983, this crib is dedicated to Malcolm de Palma, the son of artist Brett de Palma, who showed with Haring at Tony Shafrazi.

If that's Little Malcolm's birthday, he just turned 25, which sounds like the kind of age when you get to make your own financial decisions. And since Uncle Keith's prices are all grown up now, too, the crib will be sold on May 14th at Christie's. The presale estimate is $350,000-450,000, mattress sold separately. [As per Bobbini's question in the comments, are the Finials of Certain Strangulation removable?]

Lot 460: Untitled, Keith Haring, ink & enamel paint on wood crib, Postwar & Contemporary Art Afternoon Sale, May 14, 2008 update: wow, it sold for $337,500. [christies.com]

1 Comment

But! The finials! Finials of Death! I hope Christie's has a disclaimer in the listing.

[lolol, good, not actually funny point. the other known Haring crib has a flat top. -ed]

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