At the opening of "Haring Miami" last week, fans of the '80s pop artist were wowed by the sheer size of the collection -- nearly 200 works -- as well as the healthy crowd that turned out to see them. Both filled four floors of the Moore Building on Wednesday night.
But by Saturday, only ten works of art remained, and the crowds had dwindled with them. A court order from the Keith Haring Foundation forced the organizers of "Haring Miami" to remove the bulk of its paintings, sculptures, and other pieces, saying they had not been properly authenticated.
Representatives of the exhibit who had to explain the situation to attendees yesterday continued to insist that all the works originally included in the exhibit were real Haring pieces, and that the Haring Foundation was at fault for neglecting to authenticate them.
Inside the gallery, the remaining ten pieces had been collected on the ground floor. About 20 people perused the sparse collection when we stopped by Sunday afternoon. Remining works included a series of four Warhol-themed paintings; a tapestry used in a 2004 theatrical performance called Secret Pastures; a series of black and white panels inspired by the book The Third Mind, according to an accompanying quote from Rolling Stone; and just one sculpture, showing three figures balanced on one another in red, yellow, and green.
The mood inside was undeniably somber. Organizers had stopped charging the original admission fee of $30 and asked instead for donations to Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that uses a Haring work as its logo. In one corner, an (allegedly) Haring-painted armchair, side tables, and vase had been replaced by a Veuve-Clicquot-branded cart offering free wine.
But even with free booze, disappointment hung in the air. Some patrons called friends and told them not to attend, while others sat bored on blocks in the center of the nearly empty gallery, texting. "It's a real shame," one girl told another as they finished their wine.
This might be the first time Haring's bright, colorful works have been such a downer. Still, one Haring fan managed to sneak in an extra piece of art.
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Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.