Opera Gallery to show new work by grandfather of street art Kenny Scharf
Opera Gallery are delighted to present a selection of new, never-before-seen works by the American street artist and pop-surrealist Kenny Scharf in his solo exhibition blobz. The legendary muralist, painter and sculptor will present a selection of new paintings and sculptures in his first UK exhibition in 10 years.
Part of the iconic 1980s counterculture East Village Art movement in New York, Kenny developed his unique style alongside fellow artists and close friends Keith Haring and Jean Michel-Basquiat.
Scharf, a native of California, is most famous for his highly imaginative large-scale paintings of anthropomorphic creatures. Often described as playful, optimistic and full of joy, Kenny’s work heavily references popular culture and the cartoons the artist grew up with. Scharf is equally famous for his trademark Cosmic Caverns, immersive black light and Day-Glo paint installations that also function as ongoing disco parties, one of which he installed at the notorious Club 57, a regular hangout for the likes of Scharf alongside friends Haring, Basquiat and Madonna.
The new works on display at Opera Gallery combine Scharf’s signature energetic, cartoonish “pop surrealism” which have a child-like appeal with an element of fear. The works referencing masks and symbology meant to scare away evil, that reflect the darker issues of the modern world.
Kenny Scharf (born 1958) is an American painter who lives in Los Angeles, California. He was born in Los Angeles and moved to Manhattan, New York City to receive his B.F.A. in 1980 with a major in painting at the School of Visual Arts. He is known for his participation in the interdisciplinary East Village art scene during the 1980s alongside his friends and contemporaries Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring who the artist shared an apartment with on Time Square. One of the first artists to inject elements of street culture into the main stream of contemporary art, Scharf has continued to pioneer projects like his Cosmic Cavern—a now legendary all-night DayGlo disco party held in the basement of a Brooklyn warehouse from 2009-2010. His paintings incorporate imagery from advertisements, cartoons and classic Americana into exuberant compositions with an underlying subversive edge.
blobz by Kenny Scharf will open at Opera Gallery 26th June – 10th July
134 New Bond Street
London W1S 2TF
Image credit: ARGGGHHHHGRRRR by Kenny Scharf, oil on linen, 2018