Focus On: Kenny Scharf
Miami— March 7, 2023 —Kenny Scharf (Los Angeles, 1958) is an American artist known for his distinctive and colorful pop-art style, often featuring playful cartoon characters and cosmic motifs that suggest a fantastical world beyond our own. Scharf attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and quickly became part of the thriving Downtown art scene of the 1980s. Alongside fellow artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Scharf was known for his street art and his involvement in the influential Club 57, a venue that hosted experimental performances and exhibitions. Scharf’s early work often focused on his fascination with consumer culture and mass media, exploring the relationship between art and commercialism.
Throughout his career, Scharf has exhibited in major galleries and museums around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Hammer Museum. He has also collaborated with numerous brands and designers, including Converse and fashion designer Jeremy Scott. Scharf’s work is often associated with the East Village art scene of the 1980s and his bright, playful style has been a source of inspiration for many artists and designers. The 2020 documentary “Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide” explores the life and work of the influential artist, featuring interviews with Scharf, his contemporaries, and art world luminaries. The film delves into Scharf’s creative process, his influences, and his enduring impact on the contemporary art world.
Scharf’s works have achieved significant prices at auction, with his highest sale to date being for the work “City of the Future” (2005) that sold for $983,175 in 2022. Other notable auction records include “Travel Time” (1984) that sold for $870,000 in 2021, and “Op-Bop” (1985) that sold for $630,000 in 2022. These high prices are a testament to Scharf’s enduring popularity and influence on the art world.
Scharf’s work is also represented in major museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Scharf’s distinctive style and playful approach to art have made him a beloved figure in the art world. His influence can be seen in the work of many contemporary artists and designers exploring the intersection of art, consumer culture, and popular media, and his legacy continues to inspire and delight audiences around the world.
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Photos: Kenny Scharf by Roger Davies courtesy of Galerie Magazine