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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6,000 Strips of Washi Tape Intersect in a Kaleidoscopic Installation by Artist Emmanuelle Moureaux
One hundred colors and 6,000 strips of masking tape later, Tokyo-based French architect and artist Emmanuelle Moureaux (previously) has constructed an elaborate installation of intersecting lines in Kurashiki, Japan. The immersive work, which was a commission from the brand mt, extends from the factory floor to ceiling in a crisscrossing mishmash of diagonals and pigments. To complete the piece, which is part of Moureaux’s 100 Colors series, the artist fastened 15-millimeter tape in a vibrant, rainbow gradient throughout the space, leaving a tunnel-like walkway for visitors to pass through and experience how perspectives shift depending on the angle.
Explore more of the artist’s architectural installations on her site and Instagram. (via designboom)
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Illuminated Dinosaurs Stalk Paris’s Jardin des Plantes in a Spectacular Journey Through Time
Trilobites, luminous flying raptors, and a T-Rex towering 27 meters above the ground are just a few of the otherworldly creatures currently haunting the grounds of the Jardin des Plantes. The massive organisms are the subjects of a fantastic exhibition now on view at the Paris venue that takes viewers on a spectacular journey of development and biodiversity through the ages.
Populated by hand-painted silk sculptures crafted by the Sichuan-based company China Lights, Evolution on a Path to Enlightenment opens about 3,700 million years ago with the Precambrian era’s marine creatures. The walkable, outdoor show then ventures into the early terrestrial environment of the Paleozoic period, greets the dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous ages—this segment includes fanciful renditions of well-recognized creatures like the stegosaurs and velociraptor, all of which are based on research from paleontologists from the National Museum of National History—before closing with the birds and mammals that remain today.
Visit the botanical garden before January 30, 2022, to explore life 600 million years ago or take a virtual tour in the video below.
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Furry Tendrils and Tufts of Technicolor Hair Erupt Across Shoplifter’s Immersive Installations
Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, otherwise known as Shoplifter (previously), fittingly describes her immersive environments of hair as “an exploded rainbow.” Cloaking walls with neon fur and hanging tendrils of fuzzy fibers from the ceiling, the artist creates enormous, extravagantly colored landscapes designed to be ruffled and stroked as viewers pass through the cave-like walls and underneath the suspended strands.
In a new interview with Lousiana Channel, Shoplifter recounts her first encounter with the medium as a child in Iceland and her later move to New York, where she’s spent the last 25 years creating kaleidoscopic landscapes brimming with textures. She perpetually gravitates toward vibrant, bold color palettes because of their therapeutic, playful, and ornamental qualities, and although she creates such strikingly manufactured installations, she describes her practice as a form of “hyper-nature… I’m not competing with nature. I just exaggerate and create this abstraction that resembles it but isn’t literal.”
Watch the full interview above to dive deeper into Shoplifter’s inspirations and process, and see an archive of her technicolor creations on Instagram.
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A Spectacular Collection of 40 Artist-Built Environments Are on Display in Sheboygan’s Art Preserve
On the edge of the city of Sheboygan in northeast Wisconsin is a new museum nestled into the hillside. Opened earlier this year, the Art Preserve of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center is home to 40 artist-built environments, or “spaces and places that have been significantly transformed by an artist to embody and express aspects of their history, place, and culture, their ideas and imagination.” The first of its kind, the spectacular, immersive space is an ode to the artists and their intellectual and creative trajectories, displaying a staggering array of installations, sculptures, paintings, and myriad works across mediums.
Ranging from Emery Blagdon’s suspended kinetic assemblages made of sheet metal, holiday lights, and other found objects to Nek Chand’s troupe of more than 150 mosaic figures, the artworks are eclectic in discipline, scale, and aesthetic. Each of the environments consists of thousands of objects, structural components, and ephemera that form a holistic, comprehensive view of the artist’s life and work. Around the circular pathway winding through Ray Yoshida’s reconstructed Chicago apartment, for example, are ritual masks from New Guinea, printed works, pieces of pop culture from Maxwell Street Market, and notes and letters, offering an intimate glimpse into his diverse collection and personal relationships.
In addition to the environments, the 56,000-square-foot space also houses 11 commissioned responses that included standalone works and projects literally embedded into the preserve’s structure. The Denver-based architecture studio Tres Birds designed the building, although the stairway was completed in collaboration with the late Ruth DeYoung Kohler II and uses concrete pavers that jut out beyond the walls to display a series of “hobo symbols,” or emblems travelers historically used to denote safety. Kohler conceived of the Art Preserve while director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, where she championed local and international artists and devoted herself to protecting their works and legacies.
Watch the video below for a tour of the expansive space, and dive into the full collection, which includes pieces from sites in Wisconsin, New York City, Mississippi, India, and other global locations, on its site.
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First Look at ‘Numina’: A Wonderland Brimming with Bizarre Creatures and Fantastical Scenes Opens at ‘Convergence Station’ in Denver
Between a two-story metallic spaceship, gnarled trees teeming with strangely colored mosses and lichen, and fantastical creatures, the eccentric artworks that comprise the new space at Convergence Station by Meow Wolf (previously) rival those in even the most peculiar sci-fi universe. The immersive, swamp-like installation, which is dubbed “Numina” or the spirit of a place, is one of the anchors of the Santa Fe-based company’s latest undertaking, which showcases more than 70 installations by 300 artists across four floors. Four years in the making, Convergence Station opens on September 17 in Denver.
Accessible through a series of secret portals and wormholes, “Numina” scales 35 feet into the air and is designed as a multi-sensory experience inviting visitors to interact with their unearthly surroundings. When someone speaks to one of the four glowing creatures resembling sea urchins, for example, the forms warp and spew the echoed audio across the space. The color-changing “Fairie Orbs” similarly sing and vibrate with intonations when a person passes by, and the “Frog Egg Garden” emits kaleidoscopic lights and quiet sounds when activated with touch.
Spanning three levels, the extraordinary, hand-built project is evidence of the team’s penchant for detail and ability to fuse seemingly disparate reference materials into surreal sculptures with various colors, textures, and shapes. The wood-like structural elements, for example, are wrapped in innumerable folds that artists modeled after the wrinkled skin of hairless cats, while pieces like the “Toad Piggies” are hybrid creations and the “Nudibranches” exaggerate the striking bodies of real-life mollusks by stretching them to seven feet. “Some ‘flowers’ were inspired by jellyfish, and some ‘jellyfish’ look more like flowers,” says Caity Kennedy, the project’s creative director and co-founder of Meow Wolf.
Although individual artists retained control over much of what they created—the expansiveness of this collaborative approach is part of what makes “Numina” so uniquely vast and diverse—Kennedy tells Colossal that she gravitated toward the more bizarre works rather than whimsical, fairytale-style pieces. “It is an interesting challenge to play with the balance of comfort and discomfort, to build a space that is welcoming but sometimes unnerving, to make people feel both safe and adventurous at the same time,” she shares. “There are so many things I could point out… Look for the sundial! Find the zoetrope! Point the sort of mollusk orchid/telescope creatures at the stars! Find Leomie’s Field Notebook in the library!”
Tickets are on sale now to visit Convergence Station in person. Otherwise, watch the video tour above for a more in-depth look at the unreal wonderland.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.