Kenny Scharf

Blox and Bax

March 11, 2017 —
April 22, 2017

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PRESS RELEASE

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Kenny Scharf: Blox and Bax, our fifth exhibition with Kenny Scharf. An opening reception featuring performances by Ann Magnuson will be held at the gallery from 6-8pm on March 11, 2017.

In his paintings, sculptures, videos, public artworks, and installations, Kenny Scharf unites political ideas with a pop aesthetic, critiquing mainstream media and rampant commercialism through his art. For his new exhibition, Scharf has produced three distinct but related bodies of work. Monumental in scale, the BLOCKHEADZ paintings feature square and rectangular cartoon faces in loose grid patterns that recall hard-edged abstraction and color field paintings. Occasional breaks between the faces reveal the galactic skyscapes that have appeared in Scharf's work since the 1970s. Using abandoned television monitors found on sidewalks around the city, Scharf transforms the matte black and silver plastic TVs into brightly painted faces for his series TV BAX. Finally, Scharf's Assemblage Tableaux Vivants series comprises wall-mounted assemblages pieced together from found plastic toys and games. Scharf uses paint along with plastic beads and decorations, layering colors and objects to create fantastical, intimate dioramas that reference Scharf's lifelong concern about the detrimental environmental effects of discarded plastic. These three series all engage rectilinear forms as framing and structuring devices but resist the traditional rigidity of the grid, inviting playful imagery and bold color into its structure.

On March 11, renowned actor, artist, singer, and writer Ann Magnuson will appear at the gallery for the second time. These performance events, along with our annual week of performance art, are part of the gallery's larger effort to stage live art in the gallery context. Magnuson will debut her new character Dream Goddess, an evolution of the Dream Girl character she brought to life in her recent album of the same name. The Dream Goddess performances will include short videos that incorporate works from the new exhibition Kenny Scharf: Blox and Bax.

Since the late 1970s, Magnuson and Scharf have been close friends and collaborators. Both were key figures in Club 57, a seminal venue for performance art, music, and film in New York's East Village. On October 31, 2017, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will open Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983, the first exhibition to document Club 57. Magnuson and Scharf both played a critical role in shaping the wild, eclectic aesthetic of the legendary club by presenting their own work and collaborating with the other members on programs and exhibitions. The MoMA exhibition--along with its accompanying catalogue--is co-organized by Magnuson with MoMA Department of Film Curator Ronald Magliozzi and Assistant Curator Sophie Cavoulacos and will feature artworks from the period as well as extensive ephemera from Club 57 participants' archives.

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) will be featured in Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s, an exhibition of selections from the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American 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 four exhibitions of Scharf's work to date: 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 Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Los Angeles, CA; Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA; Davis Bros Tire Pros, Culver City, CA; West Adams Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; and other locations around the world.

Scharf is included in public collections such as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.