Jorge Luis Borges once said something about hoping that his name would fade so that his writing could pass into legend, divested from any identity or biographical detail. There would be the story, and nothing else. Along those lines, Keith Haring’s cartoonish, colorful style has become instantly identifiable regardless of any familiarity with Haring himself due to its association with organizations like Best Buddies—meaning there’s still a lot of money to be found in the Haring business. Unfortunately, it’s currently existing business that will have to carry on in the future, as the Keith Haring Foundation announced that it’s disbanding its authentication committee so that more focus could be had on philanthropy and establishing a definitive catalogue of his work. It follows similar decisions by Warhol and Basquiat representatives in recent months due to the possible legal risk over such authentication debates.
As Haring’s style was both singular and simplistic, it’s definitely plausible that a skilled plagiarist could wreak havoc with the process given the long, long history of art fakers. Not that that’s been a problem, but it apparently wasn’t worth the chance. (Because there’s no way any art foundation has the moolah for a protracted legal dispute.) Art submitted before September 1 will still be considered, but after that, it’ll be a clean break. Would-be fakers will be forced to peddle their wares at flea markets to mom-and-pop couples who simply don’t know any better.