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Cartoon CultureInstallations

Kenny Scharf’s Barberadise

Kenny Scharf, one of the first “lowbrow” artists to popularize cartoon culture in ‘fine art’, is back with a new exhibit of Flintstone and Jetsons mash-ups. His new show, Barberadise, opened tonight at the Honor Fraser Gallery on La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles.

The show features several “re-appropriations” of cartoon characters created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, including “the contrasting stone-age family, The Flinstones and the futuristic Jetsons amidst world annihilation”. The exhibition will run through on October 31st. Can’t make it? You can scan 20 pieces in the exhibit online if you click here.

  • doug holverson

    Makes me think of the “Jetstones” from “Mighty Mouse, the New Adventures”. And that was even a bit over 20 years ago.

  • uli

    Fine Art? Why? Because it’s oil and diamond dust on canvas?

  • unclewayne

    Damn, but Judy looks hot….in her triangular bikini!!

  • I like J.R. Williams better and more subversive work.

  • Just to clarify my previous comment, I’m referring to the contemporary Portland artist J.R. Williams and not the cartoonist from 1888 – 1957.

  • Kyle Maloney Rap

    Why is Fred cursing at Pebbles? not the best role model

  • Dock Miles

    Scharf does superior, more vibrant work when he invents his cartoon characters. He appropriated Flinstones/Jetsons more than 30 years ago and that should have been that.

  • doug holverson

    Any reason why this is special or even much of an original juxtaposition? The Flintstones travelled to the Jetsons future in in their “Time Machine” episode. The Flintstones and Jetsons even crossed over in a direct to VHS movie in the ’90s.

    Is this even that radically out there? Back just my ’80s Small Press Comics days I was doing stuff like putting Abe Lincoln’s head on Space Ghosts’ body and making up the phrase “beautiful chimera” to describe it because the term mash-up didn’t exist yet, and people just brushed it off as just more Small Press antics.

    I liked the abstract stuff a bit better if only in a fun explosion in the Lava Lamp factory sort of way. The cyclops cat too, maybe…. Except I drew one of those back in ’89, being petted by a cyclops elfmimi no less.

  • doug holverson

    @unclewayne, but I bet the light-box could put a hurtin’ on her.

  • J. Encea

    I can’t believe there was such an uproar over the poster for the Ottawa animation festival and hardly ANY for this crap. Ugly, uninspired, witless, unoriginal, badly composed, badly painted, and just plain boring. What a waste of time.

  • Arthur F

    I don’t think it has anything anymore to do with contemporary art (IMHO I think today, for those interested partakers the discussion has in some way understood to drop the “fine”, even the dreaded quotes of irony, and just use “contemporary” which is inclusive of different approaches and fields) but market nostalgia supporting certain 1980s hallmarks. In the mid-1980s when he made his name in mostly East Village contexts first, his paintings, small, purchaseable for the apartment or then collector’s home rather than museum scale, made absolute sense. We’re talking a period where the low/high mash-ups were creatively seeded within music and performance scenes, and NYC street-art, stencils, graffiti culture, and overall of the entertainment/cartoon culture as a kind of confrontational stance, a return-of-the-repressed of American Culture, as in proto-PeeWee’sPlayhouse, RAW comix, Gary Panter, Haring, scratch/hip hop and punk or the music aesthetic of B-52s and on and on.

    But it’s just so lame to imagine today as if nothing changed, as if it is still vhs and a few cable stations on television in certain areas of the country, and that re-imagineering Flintsones, Jetsons, HB culture etc.. hasn’t been handled among others, in so many better ways, by adultswim’s 90s re-animations philosophy and so on.
    It should have been presented in a Natural History museum, that would have been fun – prehistoric fossils on display.

  • Randy Koger

    No, no and no.
    UGLY, nasty colors, strange (but not in a good way) and most importantly, why? The whole thing seems completely pointless.
    This guy looks like he’s trying to be a new-age Peter Max.
    It aint’ working.

  • Yuk! I never understood how Scharf became famous. This latest Flintstones/Jetsons “art” is completely unoriginal hack work.

  • Dave G

    Quoting H-B cartoon icons lends Scharf subject matter. But it’s way too late for the hipness bus.

  • I prefer the ones Glenn Barr did 10 years ago.

  • Cole Johnson

    “Modern” or “contemporary art”–pointless, ugly, and offensive–has been one of the more successful scams in history, right up there with global warming. It’s hard to believe stuff like these meaningless Flintstone things are in an art museum, even in California. The Jetsons kid’s head on an insect body? This aspiring Warhol can’t seem to get the appropriated characters down very well, either. Look at the first one, with ol’Fred and Wilma in the Jetsonmobile. Fred and Wilma are the same size–Fred is too thin, and wilma’s too thick! Why is the Jetson collar on Fred so crooked? Where’s Fred’s eyebrows? Why is the steering wheel on the right? And was the artist content with Fred’s eyes going in two different directions? Perhaps he had to have it finished by four o’clock or something.

  • I love Kenny Scharf’s abstract art and his original character designs, but his Flintstones and Jetsons pieces are either outright swipes (that Fred holding Pebbles is a dead-on copy of an image in a Pete Alvarado-drawn FLINTSTONES comic) or just stiff, badly-drawn approximations of the characters, all done up with waaay too much gloss (like one of those post-ROGER RABBIT video box and/or cereal box covers). It’s another case of “The Uncanny Valley”…you either have to be faithful to the characters or be intentionally off-model. Todd Schorr is a good example of the first approach, while Frank Kozik nails the second one. The painters Dave Burke and XNO also really “get it”…but sorry, but these efforts by Kenny Scharf leave me cold.

    Oh, and Scharf oughtta dig up his Preston Blair books for Walter Foster; as that Judy Jetson piece shows, he really needs to brush up on his hands.

  • Ed Thompson

    “the contrasting stone-age family, The Flinstones and the futuristic Jetsons amidst world annihilation”- world annihilation consists of some colorful mushroom clouds in the distance, with no visible signs of ‘annihilation’ to any buildings/structures that we can see, while everyone in the foreground is smiling, laughing, and cussing? Maybe I’ve just been born too early, and in 25-50 years the irony and the artistry would be obvious.

  • These probably look better in person but while we’re offering our dumb and terrible opinions about ART on the INTERNETS I’ll say the asemic writing in the speechbubbles is really jarringly lame and out of place.

  • Robert Schaad

    Wow. Here we go again. Art getting people angry. Sorry it’s not 100% on model. Try looking at it (or any art, be it based on appropriation or not) from the perspective that every aspect of it is/was the artist’s intention.

  • Jason

    Modern “art” owes everything to dumb rich people with more money than is good for them. They’re the twits who buy this junk, or junk such as “found art” (urinals with initials scrawled on them) or basketballs suspended in fishtanks full of Lucite. And why? Supposedly because it’s a power trip for them, to be influencing culture and making popular the garish and ugly. They have no taste or refinement, just barrels of cash. Sad.

  • (urinals with initials scrawled on them)
    “I KNOW ZERO ABOUT ART” is a little quicker to type, try that next time. Still bonus points for no off topic demented babble about ‘global warming’.

  • Jason

    Tim, what yanked your string, exactly? Are urinals “art” to you? If so, you must be in ecstasy every time you visit any facility replete with public restrooms. To such as you, art galleries are everywhere!

  • Tim Drage

    Duchamp’s urinal is nothing to do with the art world business/trend stuff you are criticising. Quite the opposite in fact, that was kind of the point of it.

    You’re right tho that art galleries ARE everywhere.

  • Jason

    I thought I was criticizing junk that masquerades as art and does a poor job of it. And is ugly to boot. In my opinion, urinals inscribed with the words “R. Mutt” and hung upside down on the wall and badly colored Flintstones pastiches both fall into that category.

  • Yes that popular catagory of random totally unrelated things to make up imaginary ideas about in order to anger yourself. HAVE FUN WITH THAT.

  • Since we are kind of on the topic of using existing cartoon characters in works of fine art I would like to mention that Craig Yoe’s long out of print book “The Art of Mickey Mouse” is going for practically nothing these days on I find the book to be a great source of inspiration and very interesting. I think that a lot of the artwork in the book has also not ever been published elsewhere.