Saturday, April 20, 2024

At Luna Luna, Immerse Yourself in the Art Amusement Park Nearly Lost to Obscurity

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Art History

#amusement parks #art history #immersive #installation #Luna Luna

An artist-designed Ferris wheel installed inside of a warehouse. It is white and illuminated, with drawings around its panels and seats.

Photo by Joshua White. All images © Luna Luna, shared with permission

In 1987, in Hamburg, Germany, an amusement park like no other popped up on the grounds of a public green. The brainchild of Austrian artist and polymath André Heller, Luna Luna was an ambitious artistic collaboration with some of the most famous artists of the time, whose work still resonates today.

Visitors entered through a gate painted by Sonia Delaunay, went for a spin on a carousel designed by Keith Haring or a Ferris wheel by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and immersed themselves in pavilions by David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, and Salvador Dalí. Then, inexplicably, the project was nearly lost.

Luna Luna was open for only the one season before being packed up into 44 shipping containers and shipped to Texas, where it remained locked away for more than three decades. In 2022, DreamCrew—an entertainment company co-founded by Drake and Adel “Future” Nur—acquired the entire presentation and shipped it to a warehouse in Los Angeles where it could be restored and rebuilt.

An overview of a reassembled, historic amusement park inside a warehouse. The image shows a group of monster-like creatures on the left and in the center, who all have huge eyes. On the right is a colorful and illuminated carousel.

Photo by Jeff McLane

This month, Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy opens in a vast complex on the east side of Los Angeles, once again welcoming us into a one-of-a-kind art experience. Visitors can wander through David Hockney’s “Enchanted Tree,” visit Salvador Dalí’s “Dalídom,” and even get hitched in André Heller’s own “Wedding Chapel.” Park goers can also peek into the rediscovery and reassembly process, from the large-scale unboxing of shipping containers to uncovering ephemera from the original fair to solving the puzzle of how to rebuild the rides.

Find tickets and plan your visit on the project’s website. And if you want to dig deeper into the history of the park, Phaidon recently re-issued Luna Luna: The Art Amusement Park, the book that accompanied the original opening. Get your copy on Bookshop.

Two images side-by-side showing performers in circus-like outfits at an indoor amusement park. One person is dressed up like a sparkly moon, another is on stilts and wears a hat and checkered pants, and another wears a metallic clown costume and juggles.

Photos by Sarah Mathison

An overview of a reassembled, historic amusement park inside a warehouse. The image focuses on a colorful carousel in the center, designed by artist Keith Harnig, with illuminated walls also covered in his cartoonish drawings.

Photo by Jeff McLane

An overview of a reassembled, historic amusement park inside a warehouse. A carousel-type ride is blurred as it spins, and a painted gateway reads

Photo by Jeff McLane

An image inside of a warehouse, illuminated with purple and orange lights, showing a swing ride and an entrance illuminated with

Photo by Joshua White

An overview of a reassembled, historic amusement park inside a warehouse. Drawings by Keith Haring and a carousel are in the background. A pavilion designed by David Hockney, with abstract tree-like shapes in red, green, and blue, sits in the foreground.

Photo by Jeff McLane

#amusement parks #art history #immersive #installation #Luna Luna

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