Kenny Scharf

Kenny Scharf

Kenny Scharf is a New Orleans-born artist known for his diverse talents in music and visual arts.

His visual art explores themes of identity and society, pushing boundaries and provoking thought. Committed to social change, Scharf uses his platform to advocate for important causes.

In both his music and visual art, Kenny Scharf's passion for innovation and authenticity shines through, making him a dynamic force in the cultural landscape.

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      Kenny Scharf is an American artist born on November 23, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. Scharf is best known for his Pop Surrealist style and played a significant role in the vibrant East Village art scene of 1980s New York City, alongside contemporaries Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Scharf's eclectic approach encompasses various forms such as painting, sculptures, installations, street art, and fashion.

      After moving from Los Angeles to Manhattan, Kenny Scharf earned his BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in 1980. During this time, Scharf was introduced to the New York art scene, where he became acquainted with Andy Warhol. He gained recognition for his Cosmic Caverns in the East Village, with the first of these being his 1981 Cosmic Closet in a Times Square apartment shared with Keith Haring.


      Scharf’s Cosmic Caverns are installations that span entire rooms, using black light and Day-Glo on recycled objects in order to immerse the viewer in a different world. Cosmic Caverns are housed in areas ranging from the basement of his Brooklyn studio to museum exhibitions and serve as venues for disco parties hosted by Scharf.

      While their primary use is for entertainment, Cosmic Caverns hold an important message in the trash that serves as its foundation: through the usage of recycled plastic, Scharf makes a commentary on the environmental effects of plastic on the world, calling it “one of the biggest scourges on earth.” Above all, Kenny Scharf understands that his installations are an experience to behold, and doesn’t hold it against viewers for seeing Cosmic Caverns as nothing else than that.


      Kenny Scharf describes his style as “Pop Surrealism,” a style of Surrealist art influenced by popular imagery. This style is also known as “Lowbrow,” named to be the opposite of highbrow. This movement came to be in Los Angeles in the 1970s and is marked by abstract surrealism with cartoon influences.

      Growing up in the TV-dinner, Saturday cartoon era of the 60s, Scharf grew to love the characters from popular children’s shows like The Flintstones and The Jetsons. These characters, among other imaginary creatures, are portrayed by Scharf in colorful and distorted ways that contribute to an overall hallucinatory theme in his artworks.


      Scharf's impact extends beyond the traditional fashion space, shown through fashion and design collaborations with various prestigious names. His collaborations with Movado are particularly noteworthy, as he is the only artist to create two collections for the brand. His first collaboration with Movado in 2009 was marked by designs that included smiling hearts and a welcoming portrayal of the planet Saturn, framed in stainless steel. Scharf's latest collection features six new watches, highlighting recent characters on the dials.

      In the fashion world, Scharf contributed to designer Heron Preston’s Fall 2020 collection. This partnership marked the first time where an artist redesigned the Heron bird that became synonymous with the brand. A seven-piece capsule collection was released within the Fall 2020 collection, encompassing T-shirts, hoodies, denim, and even a balaclava, all based on Scharf’s 1998 work Meanie.

      Scharf also partnered up with Kim Jones and luxury fashion house Dior for a clothing collection. His unique characters and splash-like designs reimagine various Dior items, ranging from silk bandanas to the Converse-inspired B23 Sneakers. Scharf's vibrant characters also enliven Dior's bag pouches, shirts, and pants. While primarily based on new characters and designs, the collection also features items influenced by older works, including an elaborately embroidered shirt inspired by his 1984 painting When Worlds Collide.


      Scharf’s work has been showcased in venues around the world, including the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, the Queens Museum of Art in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the NSU Art Museum in Ft. Lauderdale. His works have also been displayed at the Venice Biennale and Biennale de Sao Paolo, the two oldest art biennials in the world. Scharf's paintings are a permanent fixture in renowned collections such as the Whitney and the Guggenheim in New York, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Monterrey Museum of Art in Mexico, and the Sogetsu Museum of Art in Tokyo.


      If you are interested in Kenny Scharf's art for sale and prices, you can find original artwork online on our website. These artworks are hand-signed by the artist and provided with a certificate of authenticity.

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