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Cooperstown Will Be Celebrating More Than Just Baseball For The Next Few Months

A new exhibition at the Fenimore Art Museum, entitled “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision” will teach the younger generations about the artists brief, yet prolific body of work. One to which boldly used art as a vessel for activism during the turbulence of the 1980s.

The exhibition on display features a private collection of over 100 works, which includes numerous lithographs, silkscreens, works on paper and posters made possible by the generous donation of art collectors, Gary Cassinelli and Nick Preston. Despite passing away 30 years ago due to complications with AIDS/HIV, Haring’s impact on youth culture around the world is undeniable. An artist who rewrote the script on contemporary art, blending the gritty worlds of graffiti culture with the beau monde of uptown New York, where in the ’70s and ’80s, the city was at its lowest point,” according to Cassinelli.

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In the exhibit, which was originally scheduled to close Sept. 6.visitors can examine different aspects of Haring’s life and career including his subway drawings and street art, gallery shows, the Pop Shop, and his commercial work. Featuring more than 100 works from a private collection, the exhibit includes lithographs, silkscreens, drawings on paper and posters, and details the full arc of Haring’s short but prolific career, presenters said in a media release.

Visitors may recognize images such as “Radiant Baby” — images that permeated American culture in the 1980s and became emblematic of the time, the release said. In its entirety, the exhibit “serves as a tribute to this iconic artist and his dedication to social justice and the betterment of youth worldwide,” the release said.

Museum admission is free for visitors ages 19 and younger, thanks to a donation.

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Other exhibits, running through the end of the year, include “Believe in Yourself: What We Learned from Arthur,” highlighting the art of Marc Brown, the creator of the bestselling Arthur adventure book series and numerous other children’s books, and “Toying with the World: Works by Laurene Krasny Brown, who makes small art that “sparks curiosity and invites the viewer in for a closer examination,” the release said.

Face masks are required for all visitors and staff inside the museum regardless of vaccination status.

Fenimore Art Museum, at 5798 State Highway 80 outside of Cooperstown, is open through Dec. 31. Admission is $12 for those 20 to 64, and $10.50 for those 65 and older. Admission is free for those 19 and younger through the end of the year. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

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It’s hard to believe it’s been over 30 years since Keith Haring left us. Yet the impact of his career continues to reverberate beyond the art world. Witness Disney and Swatch’s recent collaboration with the artist’s estate to produce a new series of Mickey Mouse timepieces, and Dr. Martens’s release of a new collection of shoes embellished with Haring icons.

As for Haring’s art, most dealers and collectors would agree that it remains undervalued, especially when compared to his friends and colleagues Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

Part of Haring’s enduring value is the life-affirming quality of his imagery, which brings something positive into our daily lives. This generosity of spirit informed his early “Subway Drawings,” which made the daily drudge of commuting just a little bit brighter.

What’s more, toward the end of his life, Haring grew to be very involved in the AIDS pandemic movement, often donating his work to related philanthropic causes.

However, all this notoriety came at a cost: Haring is one of the most forged artists of our time. His paintings and drawings are among the easiest to fake and hardest to authenticate. The reasons why are numerous.

Below are five telltale signs that the Haring you’re thinking of spending good money on may have an authentication issue. As always, when it comes to the world of art authentication, the rule of thumb is never to assume anything.

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From 1980 to 1985, Haring produced between 2,000 and 3,000 “Subway Drawings.” Perhaps 5 to 10 percent survived. Technically, every genuine example was stolen from the walls of New York’s subways.

The problem is, fake examples are created with the same “weathered” qualities as those that are authentic. When a glued down “Subway Drawing” was quickly removed from its advertising panel, it often tore the edges of the black construction paper.

Be wary of those drawings where the tears are too symmetrical. Also, the backs of genuine “Subway Drawings” are generally covered with remnants of previous advertising Keith Haring posters, which are often layered. Forgers are on to this, and have figured out how to reproduce this effect.

Just as golden crowns became closely associated with Jean-Michel Basquiat, so did crawling babies and barking dogs with Haring.

A plethora of the two icons appear on many Haring forgeries. Be particularly careful with objects—especially enamel street and subway signs, old wooden doors, orange-striped street barricades, and subway tiles—that feature one or both of these images. The same holds true for alleged quick sketch “gifts” on paper from the artist.

Speaking of gifts, perhaps the biggest problem with fake Harings lies within the realm of major and minor canvases, both stretched and unstretched, that come with extensive backstories about how Keith gave them to an old boyfriend.

They are usually accompanied by an elaborate provenance that’s hard to trace. One of the giveaways is that the boyfriend has usually passed away, making the story almost impossible to confirm.

When it comes to authenticating a questionable Haring painting, always make sure the provenance can be verified.

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