Kenny Scharf

Kenny Scharf’s contribution to the 1987 Luna Luna park was the Wave Swinger Kenny Scharf’s contribution to the 1987 Luna Luna park was the Cartoon Sculptures

Kenny Scharf’s contribution to Luna Luna was a wave swinger dedicated to the cosmic spirits of flight, graffitied with playful geometric shapes and his signature cartoon figures.

Artist

Kenny Scharf

Attraction

Wave swinger

Surrounding sculptures

Born

1958, USA

Scharf is a painter, illustrator, and sculptor

He is synonymous with the Street Art movement in 1980s New York

He is a self-described “Pop Surrealist”

Kenny Scharf, Wave swinger and surrounding sculptures, exhibited 1987.

Fairground view: Kenny Scharf, Wave swinger and surrounding sculptures. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

Los Angeles-based artist Kenny Scharf is best known for his association with the 1980s East Village art community in downtown New York. Scharf was one of the pioneers of contemporary Street Art alongside contemporaries like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. With work spanning painting, sculpture, installation, murals, performance, and fashion design, Scharf employs a range of techniques and media to create hallucinatory worlds filled with cartoon characters and brightly colored anthropomorphic blobs. Drawing from 1960s American cartoons such as The Jetsons and The Flintstones, Scharf’s work features a recurring cast of original characters—curvaceous, wide-eyed, and often zooming through the air.

Kenny Scharf.

Kenny Scharf.

As part of the first generation to grow up with television, Scharf is drawn to the ability of pop cultural imagery—particularly cartoon characters—to captivate viewers from all walks of life. His dynamic, hyper-saturated compositions merge his interests in science fiction, comic books, and popular culture with the traditions of Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, and Street Art. Scharf describes himself as a “Pop Surrealist'' for the ways his work deconstructs hierarchies between “high” and “low” art and places emphasis on the importance of combining serious artistic inquiry with play in order to highlight the creative process and appeal to wide audiences.

Scharf is drawn to the ability of pop cultural imagery—particularly cartoon characters—to captivate viewers from all walks of life.

Fairground view: Kenny Scharf, Wave swinger and surrounding sculptures. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

Influenced by growing up near Disneyland on a diet of cartoons and sitcoms, Scharf’s Luna Luna commission comprised a wave swinger made up of panels graffitied with playful geometric shapes and his signature figures. Audience members were suspended from the rotating top of the carousel, where they enjoyed views of the grounds and of the series of free-standing sculptures Scharf created to surround the wave swinger.

Kenny Scharf.

Fairground view: Kenny Scharf, Wave swinger and surrounding sculptures. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

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In the original Luna Luna book, translated and reissued for the first time since 1987.