Keith Haring Mural Salvage

New York, NY

In the early 1980s, Keith Haring painted what would become one of his most well-hidden and least known murals along two flights of stairs inside Grace House, a former Catholic Youth Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, owned by the Ascension Church.

In 2017, EverGreene was engaged by the Ascension Church to conduct feasibility studies to determine if the murals could be salvaged, as the building was slated for sale and would likely undergo a gut renovation in the future. Through this testing and extensive proof-of-concept development, EverGreene devised a method to remove the figures as their own individual pieces, while respecting their original context within the building; for example, an adjacent doorway that was integral to the design of one of Haring’s “diving” figures was also removed.

Before salvage commenced, EverGreene conservators documented the murals and performed paint consolidation to ensure paint loss would not occur during their removal. Additionally, each mural, which weighed up to a thousand pounds each, was outfitted with a custom steel frame that would strengthen the wall it was painted on and served as a mechanism by which they could be carefully hoisted down to the ground floor.

Through EverGreene’s careful execution and the Ascension Church’s extensive due diligence, the thirteen murals were all salvaged as planned and in exceptional condition and were sold through Bonhams auction in New York in November 2019, being the first Keith Haring murals ever to be auctioned.