Alex Katz 1927 –
A 35,000 square-foot, hand-painted mural by Alex Katz, was unveiled in Woodlands, Texas, a planned community just north of Houston. The mural was commissioned by the Howard Hughes Corporation to enhance the public plaza at the Woodlands Town Center.
A retrospective of Katz’s work, which will celebrate the artist’s more than seven-decade career, is scheduled to be held at the Guggenheim, New York from October 2022 through February 2023. Katz currently has a solo exhibition in Brussels, and upcoming exhibits in London, Trento, Madrid, Austria, the Netherlands, Chicago and Maine.
Kenny Scharf 1958 –
In the summer of 2021, director Maria Scharf, released her film Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide. The documentary is a warm and loving look at the career of the father Kenny, one of America’s most unique artists.
Kenny Scharf was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was heavily influenced by the cartoons, Pop culture and the Cold War anxiety of the 1960s.
He moved to New York and obtained a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in 1980. Scharf’s roommate was Keith Haring. Joined by Jean-Michel Basquiat and other young graffiti artists, they had a group show at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1983 that was panned by critics. New York Times art critic, Grace Glueck, called the show, “unsettling.” “Apart from its illegality,” she wrote, “the very idea of enshrining graffiti – an art of the streets impulsive and spontaneous by nature – in the traditional, time-honored medium of canvas, is ridiculous.”
The artists persisted, and Scharf pushed back. He encouraged his fellow artists to study art history and get a sense of how to thrive in the world of museums and galleries.
Scharf went on to have successful gallery shows during the 1980s and, in 1985, his work was selected for the Whitney Museum’s Biennial. He received raved reviews, with one critic saying that his work, “leaves you with hope, joy, play and optimism, and a sense of love….”
The optimism of his works was offset by the loss of Keith Haring to AIDS and Jean-Michel Basquiat to a drug overdose.
He traveled and worked in both New York and LA for a while, and finally settled in California. He lives in Culver City, close to his grandchildren and to his friend, artist Ed Ruscha, who took part in the film.
Scharf’s works are as optimistic and as much fun as they have ever been. He has collaborated with Dior and other fashion houses and even created signature masks during the pandemic.
An exhibit of the works of Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat is current on display at the Opera Gallery in Hong Kong.
Jennifer Bruse. Community celebrates new Art Mural by Artist Alex Katz in The Woodlands Waterway Square. Hello Woodlands. April 11, 2002.
Lorrie Parise. Community Invited To Free Celebration of New Mural, Flowers, By Renowned Contemporary Artist, Alex Katz. Woodlands Online. March 31, 2022.
Andy Battaglia. Guggenheim Museum to Mount Retrospective for Alex Katz, New York Painter Extraordinaire, in 2022. Artnews. January 17, 2020.
Time Out Magazine. Basquiat, Haring, Scharf at Opera Gallery Hong Kong. April 8, 2022.
Robert Abele. Review: ‘Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide’ reveals the triumph of a committed artist. The Los Angeles Times. June 24, 2021.