Kenny Scharf: Blox and Bax
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.
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