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The 100 best paintings in New York: The LGBT Center

Discover which of the 100 best paintings in New York can be found at the LGBT Center

By Time Out New York contributors
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Once Upon a Time (1989), Keith Haring
Once Upon a Time (1989), Keith Haring
Photograph: Travis Dubreuil / Artwork: Courtesy the NYC LGBT Community Center and copyright Keith Haring Foundation

Once Upon a Time (1989), Keith Haring

Rank: 20

Before succumbing to AIDS in 1990 when he was 31, Keith Haring painted this mural on the walls of the men’s bathroom at the LGBT Center. In his signature black linear style, replete with curlicues and radiant lines, he celebrated gay male sexuality in graphic, cartoony detail. Lines don’t adhere to fixed roles, as the insides of bodies become the outside in a frenzy of activity. Made during the height of the AIDS crisis, the fear surrounding the disease is supplanted with defiant joy.—Jennifer Coates

Photograph: Travis Dubreuil / Artwork: Courtesy the NYC LGBT Community Center and copyright Keith Haring Foundation

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