Kenny Scharf

BIOGRAPHY

Kenny Scharf, born in Hollywood, California in 1958, first came to artistic prominence in the early 1980s in New York, along with artists Keith Haring and Basquiat. Scharf placed his bright imagery, drawn from television and pop culture, on the streets and in nightclubs of the city, helping to nurture a dynamic and freewheeling scene.


Scharf calls his art Pop Surrealism: "Surrealism is about the unconscious, and I feel my work is about the unconscious. The images come from the unconcious except that my unconscious is filled with pop imagery. My unconscious is pop, so therefore the art would be Pop-Surrealism.


Scharf is a prolific artist who has worked in many traditional media, including painting, printmaking, drawing and sculpture; he has also designed lifeguard stations, Zippo lighters, watches, cellphones, carpets and carnival carousels. He is currently working on an animated film series in Hollywood.


Scharf has exhibited widely, including the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Bienalle de Sao Paolo, Brazil, Tony Shafrazi Gallery and Queens Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Monterrey, and the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art.


Scharf uses images from the animated cartoons popular during his childhood, such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons. The reason Scharf uses cartoon images in his art work is to bring popular culture into the fine arts. Scharf wants to see how far he can push the line between high and low art (cf. Lowbrow (art movement)) . Scharf to this day is making artwork that makes the viewers think about where the line is and how far has the artist pushed it. In 2001, 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, which selected him for the 1985 Whitney Biennial.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.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.