Keith Haring collaborator, Angel Ortiz, back in the spotlight with one-man show 3 decades later

Friday, June 9, 2023
Keith Haring collaborator back in the spotlight 3 decades later
Angel Ortiz, who collaborated with '80s artist Keith Haring, now has a one-man show 'Ode 2 NYC' in SoHo, Manhattan.

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) -- The downtown art scene in the '80s was legendary, especially when it came to the work of Keith Haring.

Even 30 years after his death, Haring's art is everywhere. His familiar figures, crawling babies, barking dogs, and dancing figures are on everything from coffee mugs and clothing.

Haring's legacy carries on not only in his merchandising, but also in his philosophy.

Ortiz became famous on the Lower East Side through tagging.

"I would walk everywhere, you know and just write my name everywhere," he said.

'L.A.' was his signature, for 'Little Angel.'

Haring discovered Ortiz, only 14 a time, and together they created an outfit for an up-and-coming artist: Madonna.

But when Haring died of complications from AIDS at 31, Ortiz lost more than a collaborator.

"When people look at my paintings, they think of Keith Haring. It's not Keith Haring. It's me," he said. "I was the one who taught him all the lines and everything... It makes me feel (like) the art world has been wrong!"

The art world was wrong, and according to Ortiz, prejudicial.

"I don't think they want a real Puerto Rican up there on the top," Ortiz said.

But three decades later, Ortiz is finally back in the spotlight. His one-man show 'ODE 2 NYC' is running at Chase Contemporary through June 18.

ABC 7 New York is your home for the 66th National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Special coverage begins at noon on Sunday, June 11. WABC-TV is proud to be a broadcast partner of the parade.

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