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The Keith Haring Foundation Announces Its Decision To Disband Authentication Committee

By Irina Tarsis, Esq.

On September 14, 2012, the trustees of the Keith Haring Foundation announced that it will disband its authentication committee. The Foundation’s executive director, Julia Gruen, stated that, in a unanimous decision, the trustees decided to dissolve the committee and discontinue accepting requests to review artworks attributed to the late artist. A press release on their website explained that the trustees concluded that “the public and Foundation’s charitable mission would be better served if the resources presently required for the operation of the authentication committee were redirected to purposes more directly related to the charitable goals designated by the Foundation’s founder, the [late] artist Keith Haring.” However, the Foundation will be honoring submissions for review that were received up to September 1.

The Keith Haring Foundation is not alone in closing its authentication shop. They join the ranks of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, the Noguchi Museum, as well as the Basquiat estate–who have all ceased authenticating artworks due to the increasingly litigious climate of today’s tumultuous art market. This past June, the New York Times published a piece surveying the legal pitfalls surrounding authentication and the reluctancy on the part of respected scholars, organizations, and experts to offer an opinion on an artwork for fear of becoming involved in a lawsuit. Check out previous posts about disbanding authentication committees: Authentication Committees Disband: Warhol, 2011, Basquiat 2012, Who’s Next? and Authentication Committees Disbanding, Are Auction Houses Next?

The Foundation will continue its mission of maintaining and protecting Haring’s artistic legacy. It will maintain a collection of Haring’s art, as well as archives for historical research about the artist and the social and historical contexts in which he lived and worked. Additionally, the Foundation will continue making grants to not-for-profit groups that engage in charitable and educational activities, according to the wishes of the late artist. In particular, the organization gives grants to non-profits that provide educational resources to underprivileged children and to organizations that spread information about and awareness of AIDS and HIV infection.

The Foundation also stated that it is exploring the possibility of a catalogue raisonne of the artist’s work.

Source: The Gallerist