Kenny Scharf, Pop Artist, Party: A Wild Ride at Art Basel Miami Beach and The Raleigh Hotel

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Party at star-studded Art Basel Miami Beach features Scharf's 1960 Cadillac art piece, Astral Uber Cumulo Nimbus Atlantian Express, and opens with a "time splat" interpretive dance. Media and art VIPs flock to Andre Balazs' famed Raleigh Hotel. Documentary in the works.

the crowning jewel in Scharf's artistic accomplishments

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World-renowned pop artist Kenny Scharf drew a packed crowd to the legendary Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach for a party to open the Scharf exhibit of Astral Uber Cumulo Nimbus Atlantian Express, a 1960 Cadillac Coupe DeVille brought to life in signature Scharf-style.

At 10:30 PM Thursday, December 7th, dancers clad in cave suits and space gear gyrated before throngs of artists, socialites and celebrities gathered for the poolside party at the Raleigh hotel. Scharf, in caveman disguise, jumped, stomped and beat his hairy chest while interpretive dancers in leopard print and silver suits demonstrated what Scharf calls "a time splat, where future and past collide." Art Forum magazine said the opener was rumored to be "the funniest show of the week." Kevin Bruk, of Kevin Bruk gallery, called it "Fantastically Scharf."

The who's who gathering of attendees howled with laughter, until the MC cued the production company, and awe overcame the crowd. A spotlight suddenly turned all attention to the guest of honor -- "the crowning jewel in Scharf's artistic accomplishments," Astral Uber Cumulo Nimbus Atlantian Express. Applause burst out as stage lighting revealed a perfect 1960 Cadillac transformed into a vibrant kaleidoscope of Scharfdom sitting atop a revolving platform.

A psychedelic collision of past and future, Astral Uber Cumulo Nimbus Atlantian Express is a multimedia utopia -- a meticulous blend of sound, lighting and art so filled with personality that viewers become transfixed in a Scharf's fantasy world of iconic flashbacks and fearless delusion.

Inside the flawless collector's car with only 5,200 original miles, mint condition antique upholstery is a den of pop culture and puckish humor. Outside, below the rooftop tiara, hood ornaments are redefined as florescent brains explode from twin fuchsia totem poles and an elfin dinosaur stands watch over candy-colored grinning orbs zooming through aqua vapors. The spirit of Scharf's highly celebrated closet installations lives on in the trunk of the 1960 Cadillac, where rope lights, mirrors and a revolving disco ball throw beams over animated characters spinning gleefully atop twirling turntables.

During Thursday night's exhibit, hoards of press crowded to see Scharf's intricate 3-D display. Cameras caught art critics gushing about the Astral Express, "It's so absolutely Kenny Scharf -- 100% committed," said one well-known, honey-haired critic. "It's fantastic!"

Currently owned by a group of private collectors, Astral Express is the subject of a documentary about Scharf and the art-car's creation. The short film follows Scharf through the creative process, captures rare footage of the car pre-Scharf and shows hours of the artist's work at hyper-speed. Still in production with an expected release in spring 2007, the documentary, currently titled "Kenny and the Caddy," will include footage shot on scene at Art Basel and around Miami Beach.

Kenny Scharf's work has been shown in the some of the most prominent museums in the world, including the Guggenheim and Whitney Museums in New York; the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Scharf was also the first single artist to exhibit at the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida.

In 1989, Scharf, helped to raise over $800,000 to preserve Brazilian tropical rain-forests in "Don't Bungle The Jungle," a gallery exhibit and performance. The sold-out concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music included performances by friends, Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, Ann Magnuson, The B-52's and Bob Weir, while the Tony Shafrazi Gallery exhibit included donated works for sale by artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Christo, Oldenburg, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, David Salle, Eric Fischl, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Longo.

Art Basel Miami Beach is regarded as the most important American art show as well as a cultural and social climax in the art world. The international show in Miami Beach is the sister event of Art Basel in Switzerland, considered the most significant annual art show worldwide for the past 37 years. The event drew art collectors worldwide as well as designers Narciso Rodriguez and Donna Karan and celebrities including Dennis Hopper, Keanu Reeves, Yoko Ono, Leelee Sobieski, Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z.

According to organizers, more than 2000 artists and 200 exclusive international galleries exhibited works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2006. Exhibition sites were located throughout Miami's beautiful Art Deco District, within walking distance of the beach, noted hotels and acclaimed restaurants.

Museum Inquiries, contact:

Lesley Marlo


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