the bowery in technicolor

mural works by kenny scharf.

Downtown art legend and former East Villager, Kenny Scharf, is the artist who currently has a mural work on the former Deitch Projects wall, now curated by Tony Goldman and the Hole Gallery at Houston and Bowery Streets.  The much-talked-about wall at these corners has almost come full circle with the work of Scharf, a friend and contemporary of pop artist Keith Haring, who first made the wall famous in the 1980s. Haring’s original mural was reproduced on the wall in 2008. This is the fifth project Tony Goldman has presented on this historic wall: a recreation of Keith Haring’s famous 1982 Bowery mural kicked off the mural series Summer 2008, followed by the Brazilian twin-brother duo Os Gemeos, street artist Shepard Fairey, and most recently by Barry McGee’s extreme tagging artwork. The wall space has become known as a place where commissioned artists can share their art with the public in a large way.

Scharf used his signature cartoon style in spray-painting the piece. It took him a little less than a week (right after the Thanksgiving holiday) to complete the colorful collection of comic faces. Perhaps what’s most amazing about the colorful, intricate work is that Scharf claims to have not sketched out a design first. He started with the red nose, and then just started filling in the spaces.

His works generally consist of popular culture is based on shows with made up science-related backgrounds.  He also uses images from the animated cartoons popular during his childhood, such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons. In 2001, he released a cartoon of his own, “The Groovenians” of which there was only one episode.  He did the album covers of The B-52′s in the mid-80s. In 1995, he designed a room at the Tunnel nightclub in New York.  His friendship with Keith Haring lead to him appearing 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 NomiKenny Scharf received his B.F.A from the New York City based School of Visual Arts. He is currently living the bi-coastal lifestyle. Be sure and catch the mural works if you are in the neighborhood. It makes a fantastic backdrop for your personal photos.

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