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After Sitting in Storage for More Than Three Decades, an Art Amusement Park Is Finally Going On Tour
In the summer of 1987, a carnival like no other popped up for thirteen weeks on a public green in Hamburg, Germany. Walking through a gate featuring an oversized painting by Sonia Delaunay, visitors entered the world of Luna Luna, an amusement park brimming with rides and kiosks designed by some of the most recognizable names in 20th century art history like David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, and Salvador Dalí, to name a few. Altogether, thirty-five artists were invited to create new works for the fairground, which was slated for a global tour, including a Ferris wheel by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a carousel by Keith Haring.
Luna Luna saw nearly a quarter of a million visitors in its first—and only—summer. A change of ownership after its initial installation trapped the project in a legal battle, and it was instead locked away in storage. It was more than three decades before it was seen again. In 2022, a team of creatives organized to buy the contents of the original presentation, restore it, and launch a multi-city tour starting in 2024. To mark this new chapter, Phaidon has also re-issued Luna Luna: The Art Amusement Park, a book first published in 1987 that includes numerous photographs and documentation along with cover drawings commissioned by the artists.
At Luna Luna, art was for all. The book’s author, Austrian artist and curator André Heller, described that the ethos behind the project was that art “should come in unconventional guises and be brought to those who might not ordinarily seek it out in more predictable settings.” The artist-designed environment was an opportunity to imagine a kind of art utopia, drawing on the nostalgic popularity of amusement parks as places of entertainment and escape for people of all ages. The Luna Luna team aims to pick up where the original edition left off, evolving and incorporating new commissions from innovative and influential artists working today.
While the components of the park are currently being restored in Los Angeles, you can grab a copy of the book on Bookshop. Find more information on Luna Luna’s website, and follow on Instagram for updates about the upcoming tour.
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Photographs of Empty and Abandoned Amusement Parks Explore China’s Architecture of Leisure
In Stefano Cerio‘s series “Chinese Fun,” he explores the facades of amusement without an audience’s reaction. The photographer enters areas built for fun and leisure in the off months or closing hours, exploring the absurdity that creeps into the architecture of entertainment when there is no one to enjoy it but a single camera.
Within the series the Italian photographer explores amusement parks, water landscapes, and sports grounds set in front of the background of gray skies and atop rain-soaked cement. The images were taken in the four cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, and Hong Kong, and show a colorfully decorated food stand with an anthropomorphic hamburger, an overflowing basket of fruit the size of a car, and various rides that look like absurdist pieces of architecture when not in use.
Cerio’s photographic work has increasingly focused on the theme of representation, and he explains his work as “exploring the boundary line between vision, recounting the real and the spectator’s horizon of expectation, [and] the staging of a possible reality that might not be true but is at least plausible.” Through these examples he views places of leisure as “the other,” locations built for the suspension of day-to-day life.
Some of Cerio’s works will be included in the Fondazione Volume! in Rome from September 23 to November 3 and a composite book of this series, Stefano Cerio: Chinese Fun, is available in the US starting tomorrow. (via Hyperallergic)
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