Keith Haring Art Project From 1989 Could Be Worth Millions, But Some Of It Is Missing

(CBS) — A colorful mural created by a world-renowned artist with the help of Chicago students may be worth millions. But Chicago Public Schools apparently doesn’t know where all the pieces are.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

Orange Line riders arriving at Midway Airport may not know they’re passing by murals created by the late, world-renowned contemporary artist Keith Haring. But retired CPS teacher Irving Zucker does.

“I’ve been trying to track it for the last 25 years,” Zucker says.

Zucker recruited social activist Haring to Chicago to create a giant, colorful mural, with the help of 500 CPS students. Even more came from the suburbs.

“He did it because he loved kids, and he was committed to urban culture and urban life,” she says.

Students signed the murals with their schools, like Wells and Corliss, and with uplifting messages, such as “say no to drugs” and “stop the gangs.”

Zucker would like to see the whole mural reassembled, as a 25th anniversary project. There’s a problem: No one knows where all the panels are.

“It’s a mystery. Where are the missing sections? We don’t even really know how many missing sections there are,” Zucker says.

CBS 2 observed nine panels, measuring 8-feet square, at Midway. As first reported by the Chicago Reader, there are more panels at CPS headquarters.

Haring died in 1990 at age 31, and the value of his work has soared. A CPS consultant valued the mural panels at $60,000 each. But MIR appraisals, a respected art valuation service, says the panels could be worth up to $600,000 each – or $20 million total.

“I would like to know where they are, and I would like to see the whole thing reassembled one more time,” Zucker says.

That high appraisal is partially dependent on the condition of the panels. Many at Midway show signs of wear and tear.

CPS officials say the school system has protected and restored some of the panels. The school system is able to account for 68 pieces at different CPS sites, in addition to the ones at Midway. Originally, the mural was 500 feet long.

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