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Googly-eyed works on display in ‘Anxiously’

Nov 05,2019
Pop Art artist Kenny Scharf’s works are on display at Baik Art Seoul for his exhibition “Anxiously Optimistic,” which features works using hangul. [BAIK ART]
Works by Kenny Scharf, an American Pop Art artist, are on view again in Korea for a limited time.

“Anxiously Optimistic,” now being held at Baik Art Seoul in central Seoul, is Scharf’s second solo exhibition in Korea. The 61-year-old was a leading figure in New York’s East Village art scene alongside Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat during the 1980s and held a five-month show at the Lotte Museum of Art last year.

In “Anxiously,” Scharf presents a new series featuring hangul and focused on the theme of environmentalism.

An example is “Floil” (2019). For this piece, Scharf painted flowers ominously black - while giving them his signature cartoonish grin - over excerpts of Korean news articles discussing global warming. “Untitled” (2019) shows a gun, splashes of blood and the headline “Dormant virus trapped in Arctic iceberg wakes up from global warming” in Korean over and over.

The environment has been a long-time preoccupation of Scharf, who is constantly on the lookout for used objects to incorporate into his art. In 1981, the artist first unveiled his iconic installation “Cosmic Cavern,” which he made by bringing together items from the apartment that he and Haring used to share. “Beep Beep” (2017), on display at “Anxiously,” is a colorful jumble of used children’s toys.

Also on display at “Anxiously Optimistic” are pieces from the artist’s “Born Again” series, where Scharf paints over other artists’ paintings - usually landscapes - adding to them his colorful humor and googly-eyed characters.

BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]

The exhibition runs through Nov. 22. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Entry is free.