Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Pop Renaissance, an installation of a selection of work from Kenny Scharf’s participation in the Pulcherrimae Strade initiative in 2001. For the project, created to showcase contemporary art in historical spaces, Scharf covered the ceiling of the Palazzo Communale in Pordenone, Italy with four 33 foot canvases stretched between the beams of the coffered ceiling. The images in the work were inspired by the iconography of Giovanni da Pordenone’s altarpieces and function as a reinterpretation of classic Renaissance paintings such as Bellini’s The Seven Deadly Sins.
Scharf discussed Pordenone’s style in the catalogue published in conjunction with Pulcherrimae Strade (Salvaterra and Rosenblum 2002).
First I noticed a lot of the faces and the way he paints, and it becomes almost like a caricature of a person. His lines are very quick and almost gestural, which makes him different from other Renaissance painters; you get an almost immediate caricature of a person, which is very interesting. I noticed he has a very fantastic imagination when it comes to scale, giving different sizes juxtaposed together, giants and miniature people, all occupying the same space. That surely has a lot to do with the importance of each figure. I think he took a lot of liberties that I don’t see too much in other painters of that period, with this kind of fantasy of scale. It’s almost medieval sometimes, the flatness with which he depicts the figure and the faces.
Scharf currently lives and works in New York, Los Angeles, and Brazil. His work can be found in major museums and collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Eli Broad Foundation, MOCA Los Angeles and the Stedelijik Museum. In 2009, a comprehensive catalog of his work was authored by art historian Richard Marshall and published by Rizzoli. Most recently, in 2011, Scharf’s work was featured in the MOCA LA’s Art in the Streets exhibition. Recent solo exhibitions were presented at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2011), and The Hole, New York (2010).