“I recognized Keith on a sidewalk in the East Village and wanted to approach him and thank him for his work, take the opportunity to meet him in person,” Castellani told Art & Object. “It made sense during our conversation to ask him to come to Pisa to create an impactful work of art there.”
The gregarious Haring, known for being approachable and open to creating pro-bono projects in international locations such as a Parisian children’s hospital, the Berlin Wall, and an Australian school, invited Castellani to visit his studio in SoHo the next day. Together they began planning a project on the other side of the Atlantic, one that Castellani’s family would logistically coordinate and Haring would execute. The result of their chance encounter was Haring's last public mural, Tuttomondo (1989), created less than a year before the artist died of AIDS-related complications and which celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 19 of this year.
The 180-meter mural, painted on the exterior southern wall of the Church of San Antonio, depicts 30 colorful figures in the artist’s characteristic cartoon-like style with an overarching theme of peace and harmony. It is now a contemporary treasure in a town otherwise known for its famously leaning tower and masterpieces of the late Gothic and Renaissance, and was equally beloved when Haring was painting it and crowds regularly gathered around the scaffolding to watch the artist at work.