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'Cultured' Profile on SVA Alumnus Kenny Scharf

From Cultured: “Three egg-like eyes stare at outer space from the hood of an old Nissan. The back of a discarded TV becomes a 3-D painting filled with the ghosts of toys. Bright, wiggly creatures pop up in the foreground of paintings found at thrift stores. This is the world of Kenny Scharf, one of the most underappreciated artists active on both sides of the Millennium.

Scharf greets Honor Fraser at the entrance to the studio he’s occupied for 18 years in Culver City, a literal five-minute drive from her gallery. But Scharf is in the midst of getting pushed out of the neighborhood: a developer is clearing all the warehouses for a big shopping monstrosity. ‘Which is so sad,’ says Scharf. ‘Well, we’ll still be in the same city, but not really in the same neighborhood, which is so wonderfully small-town and convenient.’

It should be said that Scharf’s career has thrived on community. A Los Angeles-native, Scharf cut his artistic teeth in the late ’70s while a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He roomed with Keith Haring in those days, and the two of them would star in each other’s videos. ‘Sometimes I’d be in the videos, and sometimes I would be behind the camera for his tapes,’ says Scharf. ‘The very early videos were on school equipment.’

Scharf took the video camera to regular hang out sessions at Club 57 with Ann Magnuson, Joey Arias, Klaus Nomi, and John Sex. The club became known for riotous skits and performances…” (For the full story and more photos, click here)

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