KENNY SCHARF ARRESTED
& NYPD ASKS HIM FOR AUTOGRAPHS
MON. 4-22-13 WILLIAMSBURG, BKLYN, NYC
BREAKING NEWS: ARTSUCKS EXCLUSIVE: One of NYC's own living art legends, Kenny Scharf was arrested in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Friday night for spray painting a black and white cartoon drawing of a snake in his signature style on private property.
Kenny is one of the last of a dying breed of graffiti artist-cum-art stars of the 1980s, and arresting him for graffiti at this point is almost laughable. I can only speculate that the ultra-high police presence, in connection with the entire city of Boston being in lockdown may have had New York's Finest a little more hypervigilant than usual.
(Image via Adam Wallacavage on AM)
The Illegal Image On A Wall In Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
"Just Spent 20 hours in 2 Brooklyn jails for this."
-Kenny Scharf posted the image above with this caption via his Facebook Wall
There are only a handfull of living artists today who could deface the facade of a building in the middle of the night, and by the next morning the sheer act of their having done so will have not only have raised the property value of the building, but the property values of the entire neighborhood. Kenny Scharf is one of the rare few who have that caché.
This arrest just ads fuel to the street cred he's built up over the last 30 years. Busting an art icon like Scharf for Graffiti is kind of absurd, like busting
Kenny Rogers Willie Nelson or Bob Marely for smoking weed.
In the 80s Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and an aging Andy Warhol, were huge players in defining the NY Art Scene, and helped sculpt not only what it was then, but what it is today. Unlike Warhol, the younger guys were making art not only in the galleries, but also for the streets.
The now 55-year-old Scharf is still doing it in both (and getting busted for it) even though he's no longer part of "the younger guys." In fact Andy Warhol in the photo above was the exact same age when that picture was taken, as Kenny Scharf is now.
Kenny Scharf Painting his 2010 Mural on the Keith Haring Wall on Houston and Bowery.(Photo by Jim Kiernan for Freshnessmag)
Current artists like Banksy and Scharf are so big in the fine art world that any night they are not making something on a canvas in their studio, they are actually losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet Scharf volunteers his time to paint walls and murals for free all around New York, on sanctioned walls (unsanctioned walls), buildings, and in hostpitals.
The finished Scharf Mural on Houston, December 2010. (Photo by Noel Y.C.)
"Just got up from my wonderful cozy bed so thankful i got out last night otherwise i would have been in till monday and that would be beyond torture. it was intense and demeaning and im so grateful that ive got a nice clean home! the felons and thugs were all nice to me and i feel bad about their lives in and out of there constantly."
- Kenny Scharf Commenting to his friends via Facebook
Photos I took at the Armory Show 2009 of some Kenny Scharf Pieces.
"Cops who arrested me were fans and wanted to talk about exit through the gift shop and even liked the tag. at the first holding cell in Williamsburg (there were only 5people in the cell) the police were googling me and asking about things like the tunnel nightclub." - Kenny Scharf Commenting to his friends via Facebook.
Artist Michael Alan performing with Scharf at one of his several "Living Installation's" at Kenny's Cosmic Cavern in Williamsburg (Photo by Garry Baoke).
Kenny is one of the few artists whose work I truly admire whom I have never had the chance to actually meet in person, and was looking forward to meeting him on the night he was arrested.
I was attending another crazy Michael Alan "Living Installation" in the Lower East Side and Kenny Scharf had collaborated with Alan on some music for the show, so Kenny was going to be in attendance, and it was a surprise to Alan when Scharf was a no-show.
Artists Kenny Scharf and Michael Alan.
Later Scharf texted Michael Alan apologizing that he didn't make it because he had been arrested. Michael Alan texted me about this, and got the ball rolling on this story.
"I was texting Kenny as usual and he apologizes for not seeing my show because he was in jail. He is just unreal, an alien, I am truly lucky to have a true friend, someone that is real love. Who would even take the time out? People don't even (take the time or have manners to) flush toilets." - Michael Alan
"I was in there 30 years ago and im sorry to say its much worse now. Kind of like hell." - Kenny Scharf Commenting to his friends via Facebook
I hope to get in touch with Kenny Scharf to get a full first hand account in the coming days. Stay tuned...
Want to see his most recent work? Kenny Scharf is fresh off of the opening his new show titled KOLORS at Paul Kasmin Gallery featuring three large sculptures, and ten new paintings. The show is on view till May 4th at 515 West 27th Street, New York, NYC.
UPDATE: Here's the follow-up story: Artiholics.com Exclusive Interview: Kenny Scharf – Unchained
Just another day in the life of an art juggernaut.
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