Phillips to Offer Keith Haring’s “CityKids Speak on Liberty” Banner to Benefit New York’s CityKids Foundation

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • October 31, 2017

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CityKids Speak on Liberty Banner_Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation

Phillips will offer Keith Haring’s monumental “CityKids Speak on Liberty” Banner for private sale this fall. Executed in 1986, the legendary Manhattan-based artist created the 90’x30’ banner in conjunction with The CityKids Foundation to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s arrival in the United States. The banner was named “CityKids Speak on Liberty” in recognition of the 1,000 young people from all over New York City who collaborated with Haring by including their thoughts on liberty within the artist’s intricate black, pop-like outline of the Statue of Liberty.  All proceeds from the sale will benefit The CityKids Foundation and Phillips is working with the organization pro bono, recognizing the importance of their ongoing work within the New York community. In advance of the sale, the banner will be hung at 15 Hudson Yards for 4 days, beginning 2 November. 

Jeff T. Blau, CEO of Related Companies, the developer of Hudson Yards, added, “Hudson Yards is set to become one of the premier hubs for arts and culture in New York City, and I cannot think of a better way to support our local community than partnering with Phillips and The CityKids Foundation to display this incredible work of art by Keith Haring.  I encourage all New Yorkers to visit Hudson Yards and the High Line when the banner is on view in November and take part in this historic New York City moment.” 

Edward Dolman, Phillips’ CEO, said, “Keith Haring helped to define American culture in the 1980s and 1990s and this banner is emblematic of the spirit and style with which he has become so closely associated. We are grateful for the participation of Jeff Blau at Related Companies in helping to secure this long-awaited public viewing in New York. And we are honored to work with Laurie Meadoff and The CityKids Foundation in offering this truly unique work of art and helping them continue in their important mission of educating and empowering the youth of New York City.” 

Laurie Meadoff, Founder of The CityKids Foundation, said, “We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with Keith Haring at the very beginning of our organization’s history. The “CityKids Speak on Liberty” banner has been a treasured part of the Foundation for more than three decades of multi-cultural bridge building. We know that Keith's collaboration with and commitment to a thousand young people on “Liberty” will continue to inspire the public for many years to come.”

In 1986, over a period of three days at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, celebrities from the art, music, and political worlds watched and encouraged as the building-sized nylon banner – with Haring orchestrating hundreds of kids at a time adding their own contributions.  Especially given its unique birth, the banner is often referred to as one of the most meaningful works of art in the entire Haring oeuvre.

The completed banner debuted at Liberty Tower in Battery Park City over the 1986 Fourth of July celebration, and has subsequently been exhibited in Europe and throughout the United States. It was featured as the key image of Paul McCartney’s pre-game show at Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. More recently, it was displayed at the 2016 Democratic National Convention’s Rock the Vote #TruthToPower exhibition.

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