Over 94% of the works on view at “Haring Miami,” which opened Wednesday at the Moore Building in Miami’s Design District, have been deemed “inauthentic” by the Keith Haring Foundation.
All but 10 of the 175 works remained up at the gallery after last Friday when the foundation, which owns the intellectual property rights for the late street artist’s work, filed a law suit and secured a court order to have the rest taken down. Admission to the show, which was originally $30 at the door, was dropped until its closing on Sunday and all of the exhibition catalogues and brochures have been destroyed.
“Inauthentic,” however, doesn’t necessarily mean the work is fraudulent. It just means that the foundation had yet to authenticate it and were probably put off by the fact that someone would mount such major retrospective without their thumbs up.
“It would be impossible to mount and exhibit 200 or more works without involving the foundation,” a lawyer for the foundation said on Friday. “It became apparent that there was something wrong here.”
Though Michael Rosen, who co-produced the exhibit, claims that all the work is authentic, it didn’t exactly help his case that a disclaimer at the entrance read:
The art in this exhibition may be by the artist Keith Haring or from his circle of friends. . . the owners and publisher of this catalog and curator cannot and does not guarantee the authenticity of the works.
There have been similar controversies in the past surrounding the work of Andy Warhol who had been known to have much of his paintings made and signed by assistants, rarely even coming into contact with the final object. The Warhol Foundation closed down their Authentication Board in 2011 after much criticism that their decisions were driven by an inherent conflict of interest in keeping the supply of “authenticated” works on the market as low as possible.