Keith Haring’s greatest masterpiece is hidden in an old men’s bathroom in NYC

You surely know Keith Haring’s work from his effervescent stickish figures decorating everything from floor-to-ceiling walls to T-shirts to coffee mugs to earrings. But inside the second-floor men’s bathroom at the LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street in downtown Manhattan you’ll find what many consider his most risque work ever.

Alexxa Gotthardt over at Artsy.net recently had a chance to check out the bathroom.

Gotthardt describes:

From just outside the bathroom, the corner of a painting was visible through a frosted glass bathroom door that’d been left ajar. It shows an erect penis emanating Haring’s signature squiggles.

Then you step inside and…

BOOM.

The installation, which features no shortage of cartoon penises, butts, sperms and scrotums, was painted by Haring over the course of several days in 1989 and is titled Once Upon a Time.

Goddhardt explains:

Haring titled the piece Once Upon a Time, a nod to the gay community’s halcyon days of free love. Over the course of several days, he covered every un-tiled surface of the bathroom with turgid, squirting penises of all sizes. Some are attached to buff male bodies tangled together in pleasure. Others float like happy clouds or hungry dragons. One impressively large specimen hovers over a line of small figures who are either dancing the conga or enjoying an orgy.

The bathroom isn’t actually a functioning lavatory. The sinks and toilets were removed decades ago and it was closed off for many years. It wasn’t until 2012 that the center restored the mural and opened it to the public for viewing.

Today, it serves as a monument to Haring and, as Glennda Testone, the LGBTQ Community Center’s Executive Director, says, his “vision of a world before AIDS—a celebration of gay male sexuality and resiliency at a time when mainstream America was quite terrified of gay male sexuality.”

Get GayCities Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to GayCities for the latest travel & events

80 Comments

  • Silvia Odete Morani Massad

    I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have introduced in your post.
    They’re very convincing and can definitely work.
    Still, the posts are too brief for starters. Could
    you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thank you
    for the post.

  • bigger butt

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a
    few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but
    I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  • buy arsenal soccer

    What’s up colleagues, its great piece of writing on the topic of teachingand entirely defined,
    keep it up all the time.

  • exhaust pipes

    Hi, this weekend is good designed for me, because this moment i am reading this enormous informative piece of writing here at my house.

  • Lorraine

    Thank you for some other informative blog. The place else may I
    get that kind of info written in such an ideal manner?
    I’ve a mission that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

  • home security services

    I am truly thankful to the owner of this web page who has shared this great post at
    at this place.

  • security systems

    I read this post fully concerning the resemblance of most recent and earlier technologies,
    it’s amazing article.

  • computer protection professionals

    This piece of writing gives clear idea in support of the new users of blogging,
    that truly how to do running a blog.

  • pt-br.facebook.com

    I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by
    him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

  • range cars moreover

    It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this subject, however,
    you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  • podcast listeners

    If some one wishes to be updated with hottest technologies then he must be pay a quick visit this
    web page and be up to date daily.

  • James Frazer Mann

    Do you have any video of that? I’d care to find out more details.

  • home theater systems

    No matter if some one searches for his essential
    thing, therefore he/she wants to be available that in detail, therefore that thing
    is maintained over here.

  • Moshe

    Appreciation to my father who told me concerning this webpage,
    this webpage is truly remarkable.

  • James Frazer Mann

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little
    lost on everything. Would you advise starting with
    a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m
    completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • car code reader

    Ahaa, its nice conversation about this piece of writing here at this weblog, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.

  • http://meuestilo.r7.com/

    Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness
    to your post is just spectacular and that i can assume you’re a
    professional on this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to seize your RSS feed to stay up to
    date with forthcoming post. Thank you one million and please continue the rewarding
    work.

  • best security

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will
    be waiting for your further post thanks once again.

  • vitamin untuk anak balita

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your
    great job, have a nice evening!

  • cara mengatasi anak malas makan

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some time and actual effort
    to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t seem
    to get anything done.

  • makanan balita 2 tahun

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you
    should publish more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t discuss these subjects.
    To the next! All the best!!

  • anak 1 tahun susah makan

    magnificent issues altogether, you just won a brand new reader.
    What could you recommend about your submit that you just made some
    days in the past? Any sure?

  • business card serves

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that
    service? Bless you!

  • key programmer

    It’s the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy.
    I have learn this post and if I could I desire to recommend you few attention-grabbing issues or tips.
    Maybe you can write subsequent articles relating to this article.
    I want to learn even more things approximately it!

  • https://pt.wikipedia.org/

    When some one searches for his essential thing,
    so he/she wants to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

  • vitamin untuk anak 1 tahun agar doyan makan

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really
    useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something
    back and help others like you helped me.

Add your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Share your take, things we missed and your favorites.