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ArtHistory

#amusement parks#art history#books#immersive

After Sitting in Storage for More Than Three Decades, an Art Amusement Park Is Finally Going On Tour

February 15, 2023

Kate Mothes

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

Walls and a carousel designed by Keith Haring. All images courtesy of Phaidon

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.

A book spread showing a photograph of a carousel at Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

Keith Haring painting the carousel

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

An overview of Luna Luna (1987)

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

Visitors outside a ride designed by David Hockney

A book spread showing the entrance gate to Luna Luna Art Amusement Park featuring a painting by Sonia Delaunay.

Entrance gate featuring work by Sonia Delaunay

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

A performer in a moon costume in front of a design by Roy Lichtenstein

A book spread featuring two photos of a small Ferris wheel designed by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1987.

Ferris wheel designed by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

Luna Luna Art Amusement Park in 1987, Hamburg, Germany.

The book cover for 'Luna Luna' published by Phaidon.

#amusement parks#art history#books#immersive

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