December 8, 2001 – January 26, 2002
Featuring: Kenny Scharf
Opening reception: 8 December 2001, 5pm.
Los Angeles is a star-struck city, and the allure of the city’s sparkling celebrity finish seems to permeate Kenny Scharf’s new series of portraits. His newest paintings playfully aggrandize a variety of Los Angeles personalities, friends of the artist, from both the art world and the film world alike. The exhibition consisted of 25 portraits each with their own elaborately hand-made frame. Scharf represents his sitter as transformed by his unique eye, filtered through an idiosyncratic lens of vibrant color and other-worldy charm. Each portrait demonstrates Scharf’s ability to blend the necessary amount of reality and fantasy inherent in today’s popular culture. Along with this comes a hyper-consciousness toward image construction and enhancement; in Scharf’s portraits, eccentricities become assets and ordinary qualities are embellished with glitz and glamour.
Having grown up in the San Fernando Valley, Scharf is well aware of the cultural nuances of Los Angeles. In fact this project developed, in part, because of his desire to bring together his artistic practice with the dominant culture of Hollywood. This merging of the art world and the film world as Scharf depicts it seems a perfect fit. Having lived away from Los Angles for the past two decades, these portraits are a way for Scharf to reinterpret his perspective of the Los Angeles celebrity from a refreshed point of view. The images also reveal the strangely separate worlds of art and film in Los Angeles and in so doing manage to create accidental points of intersection.
Kenny Scharf’s exhibition at LACE coincided with a project opening in November at LACMALab, a research and development unit of the LACMA.