Scharf, American (1958 - )
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.
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.
Kenny Scharf : "Superdeluxa"
Waddington Gallery, London
Kenny Scharf : “NEW!” Paul Kasmin Gallery NY,NY
“Deitch Art Parade” King of Parade Deitch Gallery NY,NY
“Big Secret Cache” Angstrom Gallery Los Angeles
Kenny Scharf “Astro Cumulo Nibus Uber Express” Raleigh Hotel, Art Basel Miami Beach
“Surrealisim Then and Now” Paul Kasmin Gallery ,NY,NY
“Juxtapose Anniversary” Copro Nason, Culver City Ca
Kenny Scharf: "Superpop" Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY, NY.
Kenny Scharf: “Outer Limits” Patrick Painter Inc., Santa Monica,CA
Kenny Scharf: “Groovenian Drawings” Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Kenny Scharf: “Schablobz” Kenny Schachter/Rove, NY, New York
Kenny Scharf: “California Grown” Pasadena Museum of California Art
Kenny Scharf: “Face Value” Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami Beach,FL
“ East Village USA” New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY,NY
“ Beginning Here: 101 Ways: Visual Arts Gallery , NY,NY
“ 100 Artists See Satan”: Grand Central Art Center , Santa Ana , Ca.
Americans for the Arts Awards Installation, Cipriani’s, NY
Kenny Scharf: “Nightlight” Patrick Painter Gallery, Santa Monica, Ca
Kenny Scharf: “Paintings 1990-1997” Cotthem Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
“Quest” - Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam,The Netherlands
“ Splat, Boom, Pow" - Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas
“ Portraits” - Heidi Lee Fine Art, NY, NY
“ Faces and Figures” - The Art Museum at Florida International Univ. Miami, Fl.
“ Beauty Stripped Bare / L.A. Black & White” - BGH Gallery, Santa Monica, Ca.
Kenny Scharf: Muted Chac Mool Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca.
Made in the USA 1970-2001 Ludwig Galerie Oberhausen, Germany
Pulcherrimae Strade Installation Pordenone Italy
Juxtapose Anniversary Show Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, Ca.
Special Projects: Animated special The Groovenians for the Cartoon Network 2001
Seeing Interactive Exhibit, LACMA LAB, Los Angeles, Ca.
Animations P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York
Special Project: Installation of four, 30 totems Tikitotemoniki Pearl Arts District, Portland, Ore.
Kenny Scharf: Car Nation UC Fullerton at Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, Ca
Kenny Scharf: Portraits Tony Shafrazi Gallery NY NY
Kenny Scharf: Hollywood Stars Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, Ca
Kenny Scharf: Small Paintings & Bronzes Tony Shafrazi Gallery New York, NY
Kenny Scharf:Blobz Gagosian Gallery Los Angeles, CA
Kenny Scharf: Heads, Small Paintings and Closet #16, Galerie Hans Meyer, Berlin, Germany
Kenny Scharf: : New Sculpture Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon
Kenny Scharf: Heads and Small paintings, Galerie Hans Meyer, Dusseldorf, Germany
Kenny Scharf: Galerie Ramis Barquet, Monterrey, Mexico
Kenny Scharf: McIntosh Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
Kenny Scharf: Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca.
Kenny Scharf: Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
Commission by MOCA-San Diego to paint mural Ultrazoomazipamapopdeluxa in entrance lobby.
Designs line of manikins for Pucci International.1997
Kenny Scharf: Pop Surrealist Salvador Dali Museum, St.Petersburg, Fla.
Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide Retrospective curated by Barry Blinderman, Univ.Galleries at Illinois State.
Kenny Scharf: Paintings Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
Kenny Scharf: Ultraelectrik Paintings, Sculpture & Customized appliances, Sony Buliding, NYC
Haring, Basquiat & Scharf Leo Malca Fine Art, New York
In February, Scharf is commissioned to design Cosmic Cavern, a black light environment with faux
fur walls and space age furniture for The Tunnel nightclub.
In October, El Mundo de Kenny Scharf an exhibition curated by Dan Cameron opens at the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey, Mexico.
The exhibition consists of 45 paintings from private and public collections and breaks museum attendance records.
Scharf's drawings are included in A New York Time: Selected Drawings of the Eighties
at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT.
In April, The Fort Lauderdale Museum mounts Scharf-O-Rama Vision.
Scharf's first retrospective features 23 paintings from 1979 to 1995.
In September, Scharf Shop, Miami Beach and Scharf Schak, New York, open.
These two boutiques sell Scharf designed clothing and accessories.
The stores are an extension of Scharf's philosophy to share art with the public and make ownership available to all.
In October 1995,Yoshii Gallery, New York exhibits Early Paintings: 1975-1979, a collection of 12 works
from high school and Santa Barbara, This exhibition surprises people with its broad range of
In December, at Miami's Center of Fine Arts, he exhibits, Heads, an installation of 10 large
paintings that are linked together to create one large wrap-around painting.
He also exhibits outdoor fiberglass sculptures.
This exhibition is Scharf's largest site-specific installation to date.
Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT
Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Eli Broad Foundation, Los Angeles, California
Groninger Museum, Groninger, The Netherlands
Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico
Patrick Lannan Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Sogetsu Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL
The Dannheiser Foundation, New York, NY
New England Museum for Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, CT
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
Paterson Museum, Paterson, NJ
Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
Pearl Arts Foundation, Portland, OregonCATALOGUES
Kenny Scharf, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY, essays by Carter Ratcliff and Robert Farris Thompson, interview by Dennis Hopper, 1998
Kenny Scharf, University Galleries, Normal, Illinois, essays by Barry Blinderman, Gregory Bowen, Bill McBride, Ann Magnuson and Robert Farris Thompson, 1998
Pop Art, Jan-de James, Phaidon Press Limited, London, 1996.
In Your Face, Malca Fine Art, New York, NY, 1997.
Kenny Scharf. Pop Surrealist, Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida, 1997.
El Mundo de Kenny Scharf,
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, 1996.
Kenny Scharf, Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, FL, essay by Louis Grachos, 1996
Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, essay by Brooks Adams, Laurence Pamer, 1995
Kenny Scharf, Edward Totah Gallery, London, England, essay by Brooks Adams, 1992.
Kenny Scharf, Galerie Beaubourg, Paris, France, 1990,
The Last Decade: American Artists of the 80's, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY, 1990.
Pharmakon'90, Mukuhari Messe Contemporary Art Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan, 1990.
Randy Gragg Pop goes the artist The Oregonian October 6, 1999
D.K. Row Persistence and a smile The Oregonian October 1, 1999
D. Parvaz Scharf opens window on quirky pop art Seattle Post-Intelligencer
August 5, 1999
Ian Brooks / Mariuccia Casadio Funtasy side-art of Kenny Scharf
L'Uomo Vogue May/June1999
Arthur Lubow The Whitney's Arrested Development
Cover art NY Times Magazine April 11, 1999
Paglia, Camille. "Rock Around the Clock",
Forbes ASAP, (illustration for article), November 30, 1998
Sheed, Elizabeth. "Kenny Scharf Plays Up Post Pop", Cover, Vol. 12, #5, December 1998
Austin, Tom. "Alien Supermodels", Ocean Drive Magazine, November 1998
Kripalani, Jasmine. "Burdines Marks Anniversary with Smart Dummies",
The Miami Herald, October 4, 1998
Frank, Peter. "Ed Ruscha's Light, Kenny Scharf',
LA Weekly, Vol. 20, No. 44, September 4-10, 1998
Schultz, Carol Ebert. "Kenny Scharf Looks Sharp at MCN',
La Jolla Village News, August 27, 1998
Pincus, Robert. "There's Big News at La Jolla Museum",
San Diego Union Tribune- August 21, 1998
Darling, Michael. "Kenny.Scharf at Kantor", DART International, Volume 1, No. 3, fall 1998
Louie, Elaine. "Aliens Take Saks," The New York Times, May 31, 1998
Jacober, Paul. "A Kenny Scharf Minute", Miamigo, April 8, 1998
Smith, Roberta. "Kenny Scharf', The New York Times, February 20, 1998
" Kenny Scharf," Visual, No. 72, Spain
Kohen, Helen. "Bass Exhibit a Fashionable Look at the Past",
The Miami Herald, January 31, 1998
" On Exhibit", Juxtapose, Winter 1997
" Kenny Scharf Dibuja un Grafito en la cristalera de Barcelona Televisio," El Pais, Cataluna/ 15
" Carte Blanche, Kenny Scharf s Show and Tell," ARTIS, June - July 1997, Pg. 41-47.
Hoban, Phoebe. "It's Deja Vu, Twice, for Art World," New York Times, June 28, 1997.
Milani, Joanne. "Child of the Tube", The Tampa Tribune, June 3, 1997
Sheff, David, "When No Doesn't Mean No", (Illustration for article), Playboy, May 1997
Marger, Mary Ann, "Surreal Puzzle: What to Make of it? St. Petersburg Times, May 30, 1997
Cantor, Judy. "Scharf Among the Surrealists", The New Times, May 15-21, 1997
Sanders, Jacquin. "Your Message Here," St. Petersburg Times, Section D, May 1997, pg. 1,4.
Austin, Tom. "The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of Kenny Scharf',
Ocean Drive Magazine, May 1997, Pg. 145 - 149.
" Why New Sex is the Best Sex", (Illustration for article), Playboy, March 1997
Weiss, Marion. "Kenny Scharf', Dan's Papers, January 10, 1997, p. 27.
" Kenny Scharf', The New York Times, January 10, 1997
" The Everglades" (Illustration for article), Ocean Drive Magazine, September 1996
Machuca, Marcela Garcia, "Es Otro Mundo! October 18, 1996
McKay, Bob. Beat Me, Daddy, Five to the Bar", (Illustration for article),
Playboy, October 1996
" Kenny Scharf', Italian Bazaar, April/May 1996, Pg.96-99.
Brophy, Kitty. "Kenny Scharf', Juxtapoz, Summer 1996, Pg.38-43.
" Can Friend's Do It? Playboy (Illustration for article), May 1996
Talbot, Mary. "After Dark", Daily News, March 1, 1996, p. 49.
Smith, Roberta. "Kenny Scharf' (Review), The New York Times, November. 24, 1995.
Robinson, Walter, "Lost in Space", Manhattan File, October 1995, Pg.68-71.
Madry, Eva. "Top of the Pops," ELLE Decoration (British Issue), September 1995, Pg. 52-59.
Poz, (Illustration for articles) pgs. 40 & 72, August-September 1995
Beckett, Kathleen. "Kenny's Scharf Schak," Hamptons, July 7, 1995, p.38.
Dean, Dahlia. "Swimming With The Scharf," WWD Thursday, June 22, 1995, p, 6.
" From Miami, South Beach", Brutus, June 1995, Pg. 78-79.
Winifield, Nicole. "Art Darling Scharf Resurfaces",
The News Journal, AP, May 30, 1995, p.3D.
Hurlburt, Roger. "Review: Museum of Art-Fort Lauderdale",
Sun Sentinel, Sun. May 21, 1995, p.3D.
Lindley, Kristin. "The Pop-Surrealistic World of Kenny Scharf',
The Sun Post, May 18, 1995, p. 4.
Hurlburt, Roger. "Art Harmony", Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 1995
Poz, (Illustration for articles), pgs. 68-71 & 82, April-May 1995
Simon, Arnold. " Kenny Scharf's Metamorphosis on Spectacular Display",
East Sider, Ft. Lauderdale, April 19, 1995
Kohen, Helen. "Scharf on Scharf', The Miami Herald, April 16, 1995, Sec. 1.
" Sa sag de st. Goran," Hast Journalen, March 1995.
Talbot, Mary. "Lines for This Club Go Through a Modem", The Daily News, March 1, 1995