Kenny Scharf is everywhere! The artist currently has two shows on view at the Paul Kasmin galleries, a mural up on the wall on the northwest corner of East Houston and Bowery, and assorted spray-can paintings adorning various storefront shutters around NYC. NATURAFUTURA at Paul Kasmin's 293 Tenth Ave space features new large-scale paintings inspired by the nature surrounding Scharf's studio in Bahia, Brazil. The works "explore the richness of this landscape and humankind's multilayered connections to it," (from the press release). The vibrant jungle and ocean scenes are populated by Scharf's cartoonish cast of widely grinning, anthropomorphized flowers, fish, crustaceans, bugs, bears, and oil spots. The aptly titled Oil Painting is the longtime rainforest activist's response to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occured while Scharf was working on this series of paintings. Sinister-looking oil splotches overwhelm a deep blue sea — a completely contradictory scene compared to his other works showing happy, Disney-on-acid-like characters in their unpolluted habitats.
Around the corner at 511 West 27th Street is THREE DOZEN!, thirty-six of Scharf's "signature donut paintings." The canvases each show a single doughnut floating before a surreal sky, showcasing "the artist's trademark wit and fascination with optimistic fantasy." THREE DOZEN! brought out the Homer Simpson in me and made me wish there was a Doughnut Plant nearby. Mmm, doughnuts...
Directly across the street from 511 West 27th are two of the one hundred roll-up, storefront shutters that Scharf will be covering with his lively, magical creatures. The Mediacy Group enlisted Scharf to create spray-can paintings on 100 metal grates around Manhattan for its Gatescapes program. What a wonderful way to brighten up the city!
And finally, the wall on East Houston and Bowery that displayed the Shepard Fairey mural last year is now home to a vivacious mural by Scharf. Jam-packed with cheerful, blob-like faces, the wall definitely warms up the drab corner during this brutal, snowpocalyptic winter. Check out all of Scharf's charming, energetic works around town for a surefire pick-me-up from the winter blues. Learn more at Paulkasmingallery.com and at the artist's website Kennyscharf.com. NATURAFUTURA and THREE DOZEN! run through February 26th.
Left to right, starting from top-left: Chocolate Frosted at Sunset, Pink Frosted Donut!, Glazed Cruller in Space, Crumb in the Sun, Chocolate Chocolate!, Glazed in Space, Chocolate Frosted Cruller on a Cloudless Day, Glazed Donut Galaxy, all 2011