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Press Release

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present rare early paintings, collages, and mixed media assemblages by Kenny Scharf at the 2017 edition of Frieze NY.

Born in 1958 and raised in southern California during the 1960s, Kenny Scharf moved to New York in 1978. By the late 1970s, Scharf was a key figure in the downtown scene where hybrid forms of artistic expression sprung from a do-it-yourself approach to making and presenting art. During this period, Scharf made paintings that include familiar cartoon figures, caricatures of middle-class Americans, and an apocalyptic vision of a world in disarray; videos and performances that explored the unfulfilled promise of the space-age future he grew up with in post-World War II California; and his first COSMIC CAVERN, an immersive installation made with paintings, found objects, and black lights. At Frieze NY 2017, Honor Fraser Gallery will present rare paintings, collages, and mixed media assemblages made between 1978 and 1985, the early years following Scharf’s arrival in New York.

In 2015, Scharf was the subject of a one-person exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. As part of the museum’s Hammer Projects series, Scharf created a site-specific mural with brightly colored characters, spontaneous gestures, and abstract shapes that led viewers through the lobby and into the museum’s courtyard. From January 27 through May 14, 2017, When the Worlds Collide (1984) is featured in Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s, an exhibition of selections from the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Opening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on October 31, 2017, Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983 is the first exhibition to document Club 57, the seminal club for performance art, music, and film in New York’s East Village. As a key figure in the Club 57 scene, Scharf presented performance pieces and paintings there and collaborated with the other co-founders and co-curators on programs and exhibitions. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue will feature extensive ephemera from Scharf’s archive, a selection of his paintings from the period, and a COSMIC CAVERN. Central to the exhibition will be a suite of twenty-three videos Scharf made during the late 1970s and early 1980s, which were recently acquired for the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

Kenny Scharf was born in 1958 in Los Angeles and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1980. Honor Fraser Gallery has presented five exhibitions of Scharf’s work: BLOX and BAX (2017); Born Again (2015); Pop Renaissance (2013); Hodgepodge (2012); and Barberadise (2009). One-person exhibitions of Scharf’s work have been presented at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2015); Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (2015); Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (2004); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2001); Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR (1999); Salvador Dalí Museum, Saint Petersburg, FL (1997); University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL (1997); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (1996); and Museum of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL (1995).

Scharf’s public artworks are on view at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA; Cross Bronx Expressway on Third Avenue, Bronx, NY; Houston Street and Bowery, New York, NY; Norfolk Street, New York, NY; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; West Adams Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; West Hollywood Public Library, West Hollywood, CA; and many other locations around the world.

Scharf is included in public collections such as the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL; The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Monterrey, Mexico; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Sogetsu Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

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