Welcome to Luna Luna, the carnival that time forgot

by Ali Martin from The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles

Amusement parks offer an escape from the doldrums of everyday life. But rather than thrills, this art carnival peddles whimsy and joy.

168089Keith Haring’s carousel and mural are part of Luna Luna, a restored art carnival in a Los Angeles warehouse, Jan. 17, 2024. The original park opened in Hamburg, Germany, in 1987 with 30 original works; 16 are on display in the LA exhibit this spring.Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff

| LOS ANGELES - Whimsy is everywhere at the art carnival Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy. Don’t try to hop on the carousel, though. That’s designed by Keith Haring, one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists.

The fact that so many works at Luna Luna, which runs through this spring in Los Angeles, are only for gazing upon hardly lessens the joy.

“You just smile,” says Gina Gallo, an animated-film producer visiting the exhibit. “It’s eye candy for the soul.”

The fanciful pieces have roots in Hamburg, Germany, where Austrian multimedia artist André Heller in the 1980s summoned a who’s who of visionaries to think up rides, music, and immersive experiences for an amusement park. Salvador Dalí added a domed, mirrored room; David Hockney created his version of a forest; Jean-Michel Basquiat dreamed up a Ferris wheel. And music by Philip Glass filled a pavilion by Roy Lichtenstein.

After its Hamburg run, the park was packed up and put away in storage, where it languished for decades. It took rapper Drake to help revive it – with a $100 million investment from his entertainment company. Every detail of every structure invites discovery.

The attractions beckon Mimi Maynard, who runs a production company with Ms. Gallo and a third partner. She says she wishes she could climb aboard.

“It’s magical,” she says.

168089Melanie Stetson Freeman/StaffDavid Hockney’s Enchanted Tree has a light show choreographed to music.168089Melanie Stetson Freeman/StaffThe writer and the photographer are reflected in mirrors inside Salvador Dalí’s Dalídom.168089Melanie Stetson Freeman/StaffJean-Michel Basquiat, one of the icons assembled by Austrian artist André Heller to create works for the original park, dreamed up this Ferris wheel.168089Melanie Stetson Freeman/StaffMimi Maynard, a visitor to the exhibit, admires Kenny Scharf’s painted swing attraction. Luna Luna is “magical,” she says.168089Melanie Stetson Freeman/StaffA Keith Haring-designed carousel sculpture lights up Luna Luna.168089Melanie Stetson Freeman/StaffA visitor takes a picture of André Heller’s spiky Dream Station, at the outdoor entrance to Luna Luna.Related stories

Page created on 4/8/2024 10:53:05 AM

Last edited 4/8/2024 11:11:06 AM

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