AO Onsite – New York: Friday, June 24th, 2011 – Kenny Scharf's 'The Gates Project' and Cosmic Cavern PartyJune 26th, 2011
In his latest endeavor, maverick graffiti artist Kenny Scharf has launched a project entitled “The Gates Project” produced in part by Anonymous Gallery. In the project Scharf will paint roughly 100 roll-down storefront gates focused in the burgeoning Lower East Side. Boldy painting in the middle of daylight, Scharf has already completed murals at 2 Delancey street, 132 Orchard street and most recently, a massive mural stretching for blocks on the Bowery. Scharf is teaming up with Anonymous Gallery for the project, and getting permits for each of the spaces he paints on. Art Observed was lucky enough to have the chance to take a pedi-cab tour of the lower east side visiting each location of Scarf’s work, led by Anonymous director Joseph Ian Henrikson.
More text and images after the jump…
Kenny Scharf, known for his distinctive cartoon-ish style and unconventional public art, began creating street art in New York in the late 1970’s after moving from LA to the East Village. He immediately fell in with the ranks of artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. After receiving his degree from SVA in 1980 and being selected for the Whitney Biennial in 1985, he gained wide-spread popularity. Heavily influenced by science fiction and the cartoons he saw growing up as a child, he created characters that mimicked pop culture before such a term even existed.
During the tour, guests were handed Montana spray cans and told to spray a gate directly across the street from one of Scharf’s works. Anonymous founder and director Joseph Ian Henrikson hopes to create more interactive-based experiences with the gates this summer, and has even posted each of the locations on the Anonymous Gallery website.
In a recent interview with Art on Air Radio, Kenny Scharf explanis how the now-infamous “Cosmic Cavern” parties got their start in the 80’s. Scharf was living with Keith Haring in a walk-up in Times Square. After clearing out a closet in the apartment, he found various black-lights and decided to create a cosmic “enviroment” inside the closet. His party on Friday took place beneath his studio in Brooklyn for the first time in more than a year, in a basement filled with all sorts of neon and day-glo covered found objects and trash.