NY Fashion Week Spring 2012: Vogue Features Harlem Mural by Keith Haring

Keith Haring painted the “Crack is Wack” mural in 1986 and it was restored in 2007.

Harlem, NEW YORK—When I was reading the July 2011 issue of Vogue featuring Emma Watson on the cover and touting the “Must Have Fall Looks” inside, I was intrigued by a photo of Olivia Wilde.

The image accompanies a profile of the actress titled “National Velvet” and shows her posing in an Alexander Wang outfit against a bold graphic wall. The wall is actually a mural created by Keith Haring in 1986 for an East Harlem park. The orange and black painting boasts an anti-drug message, “Crack is Wack,” commenting on an issue plaguing the neighborhood at the time.

I didn’t know the mural existed until I saw it in Vogue.

The mural was restored in 2007 and can still be found in the Harlem River Park handball court on East 128th Street, east of Second Avenue.

All photos by Arts Observer

Olivia Wilde in the July 2011 issue of Vogue.

The mural can be viewed from the adjacent Harlem River Drive while driving south, just past the East 132nd street exit.

According to the New York Times: “In noting the restoration…the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation did not mention that when Haring painted the mural, he did so illegally…”

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