Kenny Scharf

kenny scharf

Kenny Scharf (b. 1958) is an American painter who lives in Brooklyn, whose works consist of popular culture based art with made up science-related backgrounds.

Scharf came to prominence in the 80s interdisciplinary art scene making sparkly, pop-ed, and monstrous paintings and installations.

Scharf uses images from the animated cartoons popular during his childhood, such as ‘The Flintstones’ and ‘The Jetsons.’ In 2002, he released a cartoon of his own, ‘The Groovenians’ of which there was only one episode. Scharf was a key figure in the East Village art scene of the 1980s, with shows at Fun gallery (1981) and Tony Shafrazi (1984), before seeing his work embraced by museums, such as the Whitney. He did the album covers of The B-52’s in the mid-80s.

In 1995, Scharf designed a room at the Tunnel nightclub in New York. Scharf was friends with the graffiti artist Keith Haring and appears in the documentary ‘The Universe of Keith Haring.’ In 2004, he appeared in ‘The Nomi Song,’ a documentary about his friend, opera singer and new wave star Klaus Nomi. With Keith Haring he created the first of his blacklight disco installations, called ‘cosmic closet’ in the closet of their Times Square apartment. That project has grown and morphed into its most recent incarnation, ‘Cosmic Cavern’ with Scott Ewalt in Kenny’s Brooklyn building’s basement where he held parties in 2009 and 2010.

Kenny and Dearraindrop (an artist collective based in Virginia Beach) spotted each other across a crowded Deitch Art Parade in 2005 and have been collaborating through the mail ever since. They share a love of cartoons, thrift stores and street junk, underground comics and graffiti, customized clothing, technical painting, collaging, and hot glue gunning.

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