More about When the Worlds Collide

Sr. Editor

We don’t know what goes on in the mind of Kenny Scharf that generates these far-out scenes, but we’re sure glad it does.

When the Worlds Collide showcases a fantastical menagerie of Scharf’s amorphous beasties and funky faces.  The whole landscape is animated, from the goofily grinning red mountain, to a tornado tailed orange guy who bares his teeth in the midst of exploding colors and an asteroid with a big shnoz shooting towards earth. 

Between the black holes and toxic cotton candy clouds, this huge mural has an apocalyptic, outer space-crashes-into-the-atmosphere sort of vibe. In an interview with the Whitney Museum, Scharf notes that a childhood full of science fiction pop culture left him with a “fear of nuclear catastrophe,” which this painting showcases pretty clearly. But of course it’s a Kenny Scharf, so it’s all in good fun.

He also states that he strives to make art that is “anti-elitist” and would appeal not only to hoighty-toighty art snobs, but “people on the street.”  Kudos Kenny, because I have a hard time imagining someone who wouldn’t enjoy this cartoonish tableaux. Especially heady 420 types.

A little easter egg for fans of graffiti art: in the bottom right corner Scharf painted a baby in the style of his friend Keith Haring, another famous street artist. He stuck it in there to say thanks, because Haring let him use his studio to make this painting.  Ain’t that sweet?

Comments (1)


I like this piece because of the visual and emotional tension it creates.