The thermometer tells us we are definitely in the throes of summer. However, we’re fortunate enough to have a city pool in our midst where you can not only immerse yourself in cool water, but also in a prime example of the 1980’s New York art scene.
The Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, formerly known as the Carmine Street Pool, features one of Keith Haring’s iconic murals, which elevates ‘summer in the city’ to a whole new level.
Born in Pennsylvania on May 4, 1958, Keith Haring came to New York in 1978 to attend the School of Visual Arts. He quickly became a noted up-and-coming artist, combining graffiti art with murals and social commentary. Haring was also known for utilizing whatever medium was available to him, including blank subway advertising space.
One of his first exhibitions was held at Club 57, a venue for visual and performance art at 57 St. Mark’s Place, in 1980. That same year he also exhibited at Performance Space 122 in the East Village, and at Westbeth, landmarked after many years of advocacy by GVSHP. Fellow artists included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, Tseng Kwong Chi, actress Debi Mazar, and hip hop pioneer Fab Five Freddy. Like Haring, sadly many of these artists died well before their time. Haring died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 31 on February 16, 1990.
Haring’s legacy is known around the world and still seen throughout the New York City, including the mural at the Carmine Street Pool. It was completed in the span one hot summer day in August of 1987 while the pool was open to the public and deejay Junior Vasquez played music. Haring referred to it as a ‘dance party at the pool’ and said, “it was one of the hottest days of the summer and it was full of people, and it was one of the most incredible situations I have ever been in.”
Measuring 18 feet by 170 feet long, the Carmine Street Pool mural takes its inspiration from under the water scenes with a white, blue and yellow background of abstract shapes and stylized motifs of fish and children at the foreground. Throughout the years, the Keith Haring Foundation has supported the preservation of the mural.
So enjoy the weather and enjoy the scenery at the Carmine Street Pool!